Bankers like numbers. Numbers tell the story. No emotion gets in the way. So let’s look at the numbers: Over the past three years — that is, in the years after the world came together in Paris to try to slow climate change — JPMorgan Chase lent $196 billion to the fossil-fuel industry.
Over the past three years, JPMorgan Chase lent more money to the fossil-fuel industry than any bank on Earth — 29 percent more. And over the past three years, JPMorgan Chase lent more money to the most expansionary parts of the fossil-fuel industry (new pipelines, Arctic drilling, deep-sea exploration) than any other bank — 63 percent more.
That’s not to say that other banks don’t do plenty of damage: Citi, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America are all in the hundred-billion-dollar club. But Chase is in a league of its own. It’s the First National Bank of Flood and Fire. It’s Hades Savings and Loan. It is the Doomsday Bank.
It’s possible that could start to change as early as Tuesday, Chase’s annual investor day, when CEO Jamie Dimon comes out to greet the public. The bank has been under unrelenting pressure from activists — just last week, on successive days, they besieged the company’s Pacific Northwest headquarters in Seattle, leading to more than two dozen arrests. And on Friday, a private memo to high-end clients from company economists, in which they explained that climate change could produce “catastrophic outcomes where human life as we know it is threatened,” was leaked to the British press. Perhaps Chase management will follow the recent lead of other players like giant asset manager BlackRock or investment bank Goldman Sachs and make at least some concessions. Perhaps it won’t.