JPMC Commits to Align with Paris Climate Accord; Watchdog Group Warns Commitment Falls Far Short
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Following years of campaigning against world’s largest banker of climate chaos, Rainforest Action Network responds to news of company’s Paris Alignment commitment
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — In response to the news of JPMorgan Chase’s announcement that it will align with the Paris Climate Agreement, Rainforest Action Network’s climate and energy program director, Paddy McCully, issued the following statement:
“JPMorgan Chase’s announcement is a welcome step forward and a sign that the bank is feeling the heat from all sides, from the climate movement to investors. It is a bad day for the long-term prospects of the fossil fuel industry when the world’s biggest bank sets itself on a course that logically means it must slash its exposure to, and eventually exit, the sector.
“But vague hand-waving in the direction of Paris alignment doesn’t make it so. Real Paris alignment requires common-sense steps that the bank simply has again refused to take.
“A long-term vision is needed, but disastrous fires and hurricanes are happening in 2020 and we need to see action right now. As the world’s largest banker of fossil fuels by a huge margin, if JPMorgan Chase is serious about aligning with Paris, it must immediately stop financing expansion of fossil fuels and deforestation. If the bank’s clients, like ExxonMobil and Keystone XL pipeline developer TC Energy, won’t stop building new wells and pipelines, JPMorgan Chase must drop those clients.
“The bank must immediately close the huge loopholes in its coal policy and commit to stop financing deforestation. Its coal exit commitment covers only companies that derive a majority of their revenue from coal mining, allowing it to continue funding companies building new coal plants, and diversified coal miners. Chase has failed to adopt a No Deforestation, No Peatland, No Exploitation (NDPE) policy, and continues to finance agri-commodity companies that are fueling tropical deforestation and forest fires.
“A promissory note for 2030 or 2050 isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on unless it is matched by action in 2020, and in the context of the worst wildfire and hurricane season in history, today’s news is a half-measure at best. JPMorgan Chase must make commitments that truly align with Paris by the UN’s climate negotiations in Glasgow in a year’s time, with its shareholder meeting next May a crucial midterm deadline.”
Today’s news from JPMorgan Chase follows a similar announcement last month from Morgan Stanley, which became the first major U.S. bank to commit to net zero by 2050. Barclays made a similar commitment in March 2020.
In May, just under 50% of JPMorgan Chase shareholders voted for a resolution that called upon the bank to explain how it would align its activities with the Paris accord.
Last month, 60 climate and rights groups worldwide released the Principles for Paris-Aligned Financial Institutions: Climate Impact, Fossil Fuels and Deforestation, which call on banks, asset managers and insurers to commit to zeroing out their overall climate impact on a 1.5°C-aligned timeline, and to ensure that all companies and projects they support are aligned with 1.5°C.
- JPMorgan Chase is the #1 fossil bank in the world by a 36% margin, with $268 billion in lending and underwriting to fossil fuel companies in the four years after the Paris Climate Agreement was adopted (2016-9). (Banking on Climate Change 2020)
- JPMorgan Chase’s #1 fossil client by far is TC Energy, which is still trying to ram through the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in the middle of a raging pandemic. The bank provided TC Energy with $17.5 B in lending and underwriting over 2016-9, 2.5 times more than its #2 client. (Banking on Climate Change 2020)
- Over 2016-9, JPMorgan Chase provided 36% more lending and underwriting ($10.40 B) to the top 35 tar sands extraction and pipeline companies than the other big five U.S. banks combined ($7.66 B). (Banking on Climate Change 2020)
- JPMorgan Chase’s #3 fossil client is ExxonMobil, which just this week was revealed to be planning expansion of its oil and gas production that would result in 17% greater emissions in 2025. (Banking on Climate Change 2020)
- JPMorgan Chase is the world’s 4th worst banker of deforestation-risk commodities since the Paris Agreement (2016 – April 2020). Its largest client in this space is Suzano, the world’s largest pulp producer, whose monoculture plantations take up an area larger than the island of Puerto Rico. (Forests and Finance database)