Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Walloped by Climate Change

Emissions rise from a cooling tower at the Jaenschwalde lignite fired power plant, operated by Lausitz Energie Bergbau AG (LEAG), in Peitz, Germany, on Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. Policies being hammered out in Germany to slash carbon emissions may cost 40 billion euros ($44 billion) over the next four years, underscoring the wide scope of Chancellor Angela Merkels plans to boost climate protection. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

JPMorgan Chase & Co, long a target of public scrutiny for its relationship with the fossil-fuel industry, is getting more serious about the impacts of the climate crisis.

The bank’s annual regulatory report added “climate change” as a risk factor, saying it could hurt operations and customers. Risks including prolonged droughts or flooding, increased frequency of wildfires, rising sea levels and altered rainfall could “prompt changes in regulations or consumer preferences, which in turn could have negative consequences for the business models of JPMorgan Chase’s clients,” the company wrote in the filing.

The added disclosure comes a day after JPMorgan vowed to stop financing coal-fired power plants unless they’re using carbon capture and sequestration technology. The bank also won’t provide project financing for new oil and gas developments in the Arctic.

Environmental activists have been pressuring the biggest U.S. bank to divest from the fossil-fuel industry and have called on shareholders to remove Lee Raymond, the longtime climate skeptic who previously ran Exxon Mobil Corp., from the lender’s board.

Read more: The oilman behind Dimon draws activists to JPMorgan

Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, another target of environmentalists, has said climate change will be solved with government policy.

“I’ve always thought it was a problem,” Dimon said at the bank’s investor day earlier Tuesday. “We should acknowledge the problem and start working on it.”

Financial firms often include dozens of disclaimers about potential risks in their annual 10-K filings, but JPMorgan’s have typically focused on those more directly related to the economy, regulation and competition. Meanwhile, economists at the firm have been warning clients about the potential for climate change to threaten the global economy and even the human race.


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