Squad grills US bank CEOs on climate & environmental justice

On Thursday, May 28, 2021 at the House Financial Services Committee, the top US bank CEOs faced heated questions on climate and racial justice from Reps. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, and Chuy Garcia. Ahead of the briefing, Stop the Money Pipeline, Action Center on Race & the Economy and others held a press briefing with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (see recording here).
One of the most bizarre moments came when Rep. Ocasio-Cortez asked the CEOs if any of them have set targets for reducing financing of carbon emissions, in *absolute terms* after the IEA affirmed last week that there is no need for investment in new fossil fuel supply. For context, two weeks ago JP Morgan Chase announced a set of 2030 “carbon intensity” targets for its oil and gas, power and auto portfolios, which amount to “a fig leaf for fossil expansion.” In using intensity-only targets, JPMorgan Chase is taking a page from Big Oil’s playbook. In today’s hearing, JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon seemed confused by his own company’s greenwashed carbon intensity targets as he responded to Rep. Ocasio Cortez’s question with: “we are working with clients to have targets for absolute returns in emissions and we’re doing it by industry.” Later, Rep. Ocasio Cortez looked to get clarification from Mr. Dimon:
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez: Mr. Dimon, you said that effort has been put in in defining absolute emission targets–have those been released yet or are those currently underway and if so, is there an estimated time in which we can see those absolute commitments?
Dimon: they are not public yet and we’re also working with the clients on it and I don’t remember the exact time frame. But that’s not a 2050 number, that’s a much earlier [goal] than that, I just don’t remember if it was 10 years or 15 years, etcetera.
JP Morgan Chase is still the top fossil fuel bank in the world in 2021.
Other highlights:
Last week, President Biden issued an Executive Order directing federal agencies to take account of financial risks related to climate change. The International Energy Association published a roadmap for the world to keep global warming below 1.5°C that affirmed, “There is no need for investment in new fossil fuel supply in our net zero pathway.”

The Stop the Money Pipeline coalition welcomed the Executive Order as an important step, and has called for specific deliverables that federal departments and agencies subject to the Executive Order can provide to ensure that all U.S. financial institutions are firmly on a path to real zero greenhouse gas emissions before climate talks at COP26. The coalition has also issued more general demands for the Biden Administration in advance of the Glasgow climate talks in November.

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