Protesters picket outside a Chase Bank branch in November 2019. An Extinction Rebellion campaigner released a leaked document from the bank Thursday in which JP Morgan Chase economists warned the company's investment in fossil fuels is contributing to the climate crisis. (Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Don't want to hear Greta Thunberg or Extinction Rebellion? Try J.P. Morgan instead.
Climate campaigners on Friday expressed hope that policymakers who are stalling on taking decisive climate action would reconsider their stance in light of new warnings from an unlikely source: two economists at J.P. Morgan Chase.
Extinction Rebellion spokesperson Rupert Read revealed Thursday that he had obtained a report, entitled "Risky Business: Climate and the Macroeconomy," by J.P. Morgan economists David Mackie and Jessica Murray. The report issued warnings to bank clients similar to those promoted by climate action groups—describing extreme weather events and global conditions that could result from the continued extraction of fossil fuels.
In doing so, the economists implicated the bank's own investment activities in the potentially catastrophic effects of the climate crisis.
J.P. Morgan is the world's largest financial backer of fossil fuel companies, helping to fund fracking, pipeline projects, and Arctic oil and gas exploration. The company has contributed $75 billion to such projects since the Paris climate agreement was forged in 2015. The agreement called on governments to reduce fossil fuel emissions to help limit global heating to 1.5° Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures.
If activities like the ones funded by J.P. Morgan continue to release fossil fuels into the atmosphere, Murray and Mackie wrote, "We cannot rule out catastrophic outcomes where human life as we know it is threatened."
Failing to move away from global systems that scientists agree are causing the planet to warm "would likely push the Earth to a place that we haven't seen for many millions of years," they added.
On Twitter, Read pointed out the incongruity of such "radical truth-telling" coming from J.P. Morgan.
P.1 of new report on ‘Risky business: climate and the macroeconomy’: “We cannot rule out catastrophic outcomes where human life as we know it is threatened."— Rupert Read 🌍 (@GreenRupertRead) February 19, 2020
Who do you think wrote this new exercise in radical truth-telling?: XR? UEA? WWF?
The correct answer is: J.P.Morgan!!
Others highlighted the report as one that might catch the attention of others in the financial services industry and people who believe bold climate action is a cause embraced by a minority of extremists.
"Hardly a bank you could call communist now, is it?" tweeted journalist Dom Phillips.
Citing reports by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the authors note that with the status quo kept in place, the planet is expected to reach a temperature 3.5° above pre-industrial levels.
In addition to major impacts on the world economy, the authors wrote, the climate crisis will affect human health, water supplies, and migration.
The report comes just weeks after CNBC host Jim Cramer announced fossil fuel investments are "in the death knell phase" and that "the world's turned on" the industry as it did on tobacco as understanding grew about the risks of smoking.
"It is clear that the Earth is on an unsustainable trajectory," reads the report. "Something will have to change at some point if the human race is going to survive."
The authors advocated for a global carbon tax but said, "This is not going to happen anytime soon" and called the continued investment in climate-warming fossil fuels a global problem with "no global solution...in sight."
Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, suggested that as one solution, the economists "might want to talk with the Chase bankers who are guaranteeing [climate catastrophe] will happen by lending oil companies endless cash."
The JPMorganChase economists who are privately warning their high-end clients about the economic catastrophe of climate change...might want to talk with the @Chase bankers who are guaranteeing it will happen by lending oil companies endless cash https://t.co/QqyJxvEVwA— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) February 21, 2020
Activist Becky Brunton said the report offers the latest evidence that those with the power to stop supporting fossil fuel projects are fully aware of the damage their investments are doing to the planet.
"They know. They ALL know," tweeted Brunton. "But the now (profits) outweighs the future (earth)."
About The Author
Julia Conley is a staff writer for Common Dreams.
This article originally appeared on Common Dreams
Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know
by Joseph Romm
The essential primer on what will be the defining issue of our time, Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know® is a clear-eyed overview of the science, conflicts, and implications of our warming planet. From Joseph Romm, Chief Science Advisor for National Geographic's Years of Living Dangerously series and one of Rolling Stone's "100 people who are changing America," Climate Change offers user-friendly, scientifically rigorous answers to the most difficult (and commonly politicized) questions surrounding what climatologist Lonnie Thompson has deemed "a clear and present danger to civilization.". Available On Amazon
Climate Change: The Science of Global Warming and Our Energy Future second edition Edition
by Jason Smerdon
This second edition of Climate Change is an accessible and comprehensive guide to the science behind global warming. Exquisitely illustrated, the text is geared toward students at a variety of levels. Edmond A. Mathez and Jason E. Smerdon provide a broad, informative introduction to the science that underlies our understanding of the climate system and the effects of human activity on the warming of our planet.Mathez and Smerdon describe the roles that the atmosphere and ocean play in our climate, introduce the concept of radiation balance, and explain climate changes that occurred in the past. They also detail the human activities that influence the climate, such as greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions and deforestation, as well as the effects of natural phenomena. Available On Amazon
The Science of Climate Change: A Hands-On Course
by Blair Lee, Alina Bachmann
The Science of Climate Change: A Hands-On Course uses text and eighteen hands-on activities to explain and teach the science of global warming and climate change, how humans are responsible, and what can be done to slow or stop the rate of global warming and climate change. This book is a complete, comprehensive guide to an essential environmental topic. Subjects covered in this book include: how molecules transfer energy from the sun to warm the atmosphere, greenhouse gases, the greenhouse effect, global warming, the Industrial Revolution, the combustion reaction, feedback loops, the relationship between weather and climate, climate change, carbon sinks, extinction, carbon footprint, recycling, and alternative energy. Available On Amazon
From The Publisher:
Purchases on Amazon go to defray the cost of bringing you InnerSelf.comelf.com, MightyNatural.com, and ClimateImpactNews.com at no cost and without advertisers that track your browsing habits. Even if you click on a link but don't buy these selected products, anything else you buy in that same visit on Amazon pays us a small commission. There is no additional cost to you, so please contribute to the effort. You can also use this link to use to Amazon at any time so you can help support our efforts.