During Bank AGM, Climate Movement Challenges JPMorgan Chase’s Promises of ‘Paris Alignment’

Groups issue analysis of Chase’s newly released 2030 ‘carbon intensity’ targets as nationwide protests target top Chase decisionmakers

NYC  — At today’s JPMorgan Chase annual general meeting, CEO Jamie Dimon faced questions from a number of climate justice activists, on Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline and Indigenous sovereignty, the East Africa Crude Oil pipeline, the Adani Carmichael coal mine, deforestation, and the bank’s oil, gas and coal policies. He either dismissed those questions, punted, or demonstrated an apparent misunderstanding of his bank’s policies, for example claiming they would result in cutting his bank’s fossil fuel financed emissions in half by 2030 (intensity-only targets are fully compatible with increases in absolute emissions) and claiming his bank’s coal policy is strong (it badly lags U.S. and global best practice). 

In the weeks leading up to the JPMorgan Chase annual general meeting, the coalition of 150+ groups called Stop The Money Pipeline (STMP) has organized a nationwide series of colorful actions on the doorsteps of top Chase executives and board members, and today has published an analysis of Chase’s newly released set of 2030 ‘carbon intensity’ targets for its oil and gas, power and auto portfolios, labeling it “a fig leaf for fossil expansion.”

JPMorgan Chase is far and away the number one fossil bank in the world, bankrolling $317 billion into the fossil fuel industry since the Paris Climate Agreement was adopted, making it uniquely responsible among its peer institutions for the continued expansion of the fossil fuel industry. Climate advocates acknowledge that explicit interim targets for fossil sectors are necessary, but insist that intensity targets alone are wholly insufficient because they are fully compatible with expansion of fossil fuels and increases in absolute emissions. Today the International Energy Agency made public their roadmap for the world to achieve net zero greenhouse gases by 2050. The new IEA scenario finds “no need for investment in new fossil fuel supply.”

Since the Paris Climate Agreement was adopted, JPMorgan Chase has financed 57 of the 75 companies doing the most to expand upstream and midstream oil and gas. Chase has also financed 18 of the 25 U.S. utilities that are planning the most new fossil gas capacity, and with the most coal-fired power without a 2030 retirement commitment. It has also financed ten of the top 30 global coal power companies and its coal policies badly lag global and U.S. best practice, with no coal power phaseout and a very high 50% revenue threshold for its coal mining phaseout, allowing it to continue to finance major miners like Glencore. Chase continues to support companies implicated in Indigenous rights abuses, like TC Energy, Enbridge, GeoPark and Frontera.

The groups behind the STMP coalition are demanding that JPMorgan Chase take much more ambitious action to truly align with Paris. Organizers say this week’s actions were designed to communicate that to truly align with Paris, JPMorgan Chase must make ending expansion of fossil fuels a precondition for financing clients involved in coal, oil and gas; it must commit to phasing out its fossil fuel financing, on a timeline consistent with limiting climate change to 1.5°C; and it must end support for projects and companies implicated in human rights abuses, especially Indigenous rights abuses. 

Jason Opeña Disterhoft, Rainforest Action Network

“JPMorgan Chase’s intensity-only 2030 targets are a page directly from Big Oil’s playbook. They are fully compatible with massive expansion of fossil fuels and increased absolute emissions during the decade when we need to cut carbon pollution in half. By calling these targets ‘Paris-aligned,’ JPMorgan Chase is offering a fig leaf for fossil expansion.”

Jackie Fielder, Stop the Money Pipeline

“Last year, 49% of Chase shareholders voted in favor of forcing the bank to come up with a business plan that is aligned with the Paris Agreement. These new targets are not even close to aligned. We will keep the pressure on until Chase completely stops funding the climate crisis.”

Ben Cushing, Sierra Club:

“Setting interim climate targets aimed at some of the most polluting sectors like oil and gas, electric power, and autos is a step in the right direction, but the fact that the world’s largest banker of fossil fuels is not setting absolute emissions reduction goals provides cover for JPMorgan Chase to continue to support the expansion of the fossil fuel industry. Oil and gas companies’ promises to reduce the emissions per barrel of oil while overall production goes up is a dangerous diversion from what really matters to addressing the climate crisis, and JPMorgan Chase is enabling that greenwashing. If JPMorgan Chase wants its ‘Paris-aligned’ pledge to be taken seriously, it needs to set out near-term targets for reducing its absolute emissions and put an end to its financing of fossil fuel expansion.”

Matt Remle, Mazaska Talks:

“Greenwashing at its finest. These targets are nothing more than a PR move. The reality remains that Chase is the largest financier of the fossil fuel industry and the climate crisis. They are the money behind the violations of Indigenous rights, environmental racism and the destruction of the planet, period.”  

Thomas Lopez, Future Coalition:

“For them it’s an investment, for us it’s our futures. Fossil fuels aren’t extracted from the earth without money. Data shows that JP Morgan Chase is the worst funder of fossil fuels. Finance executives are knowingly perpetuating the destruction of our planet and future, they won’t stop until there’s nothing left. We are activating and mobilizing young people all over the country calling for an end to fossil fuel extraction and use. Change your ways or stand to lose an entire generation of customers.”

Kyle Gracey, Research Analyst, Oil Change International:

“Chase’s oil & gas portfolio target piles weak goals on top of a misleading focus on carbon intensity. The oil & gas industry wants to expand production. That means total carbon pollution can rise, even if carbon intensity falls. If Chase really wants to align its financing with the Paris Agreement, it should set absolute carbon reduction targets that end support for fossil fuels. Moreover, it should stop using the now outdated Sustainable Development Scenario from the International Energy Agency (IEA) to craft its targets. The IEA’s new Net Zero in 2050 roadmap makes it clear new oil and gas are not compatible with limiting warming to 1.5°C.

Joe Smyth, Research and Communications Manager, Energy and Policy Institute:

“While 2030 targets are needed to help quickly decarbonize the power sector this decade, those targets need to focus on absolute emissions cuts, not reductions in carbon intensity. Aiming to just reduce carbon intensity won’t drive the transformation we need in the U.S. power sector, which needs to reduce absolute emissions by at least 80% by 2030 to meet President Biden’s climate commitments under the Paris Agreement.”

Moira Birss, Climate and Finance Director, Amazon Watch: 

“JP Morgan Chase’s new “carbon intensity” pledge is nothing more than climate gaslighting. If the bank actually wants to align with the Paris agreement, it must immediately stop financing the expansion of fossil fuels and deforestation.”

Erika Thi Patterson, Action Center on Race and the Economy

“Chase’s recent ‘carbon intensity’ pledge is a far cry from the action we actually need to prevent the climate crisis that Chase has financed for decades. After years of funding fossil fuel expansion and deforestation projects that devastate the environment and exploit Black, Brown and Indigenous communities, this empty commitment is an insult to frontline communities that have long been demanding meaningful action from Chase.”   

Alex Piechowski-Begay, Rezistance Art

“We are in a pivotal moment in time where we need real action because we are literally running out of time. When I see these agreements from Chase I’m not surprised at the amount of inaction. This mentality has long been the status quo & remains a huge component of the industrial machine that puts hundreds of frontline communities at risk. I used to ask for change but now I have to demand it, for the future generations.”