More than 1,300 scientists have signed a letter calling on shareholders of JPMorgan Chase to vote "yes" on Proposal 6, a resolution asking the financial institution to phase out its financing—including loans, bonds, and underwriting—of companies engaged in fossil fuel expansion. The resolution will be proposed at the JPMorgan Chase Annual General Meeting on May 16.
"JPMorgan Chase must stop pumping money into an industry that is driving the climate crisis," said Kathy Mulvey, director of the Climate Accountability Campaign at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). "As people around the world face climate-related extreme weather disasters, threats to public health, and systemic economic risk, big banks are choosing to ignore climate science by providing billions of dollars in financing to fossil fuel companies that continue to expand their production of oil and gas. JPMorgan Chase and other financial institutions are continuing to mislead shareholders about what is needed to reach global climate goals and instead seeking to maintain a dangerous status quo that prioritizes profit over people and the environment."
"To safeguard communities, investors, and the global economy, shareholders should insist that banks incentivize swift and deep cuts in heat-trapping emissions to limit climate change harms and facilitate a just transition to a clean energy economy," Mulvey added.
The letter was led by prominent scientists Dr. Pep Canadell (Executive Director, Global Carbon Project, CSIRO, Australia), Dr. Rachel Cleetus (Union of Concerned Scientists), Joel Clement (Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School), Dr. Brenda Ekwurzel (Union of Concerned Scientists), Dr. Peter Gleick (Member, US National Academy of Sciences and MacArthur Fellow), Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson (Urban Ocean Lab), Dr. Sarah E. Myhre (Glaser Progress Foundation), Dr. Nezahualcoyotl Xiuhtecutli (General Coordinator, The Farmworker Association of Florida), and Dr. Gary Yohe (Wesleyan University (Emeritus); longtime senior member of the IPCC and Vice-Chair of the Third US National Climate Assessment), in partnership with UCS and Stop the Money Pipeline (STMP).
"JPMorgan Chase is an internationally known and respected bank. By ending support for fossil fuel expansion, it could help set the global stage for a just transition to a more sustainable and livable future while acting decisively to protect its shareholders and the wider economy from the financial shocks associated with worsening climate change," the scientists write in the letter. "This is no less than what science requires to keep our planet a livable place for current and future generations, including our children and grandchildren."
"To avoid the most dangerous levels of planetary warming, we must rapidly end our reliance on fossil fuels and transition to a clean energy economy that meets the needs of all communities," said Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, co-founder of Urban Ocean Lab and a lead signer on the letter. "Meanwhile, financial institutions like JPMorgan Chase are funding continued expansion of the fossil fuel industry, even as all the warning signs for our planet are flashing red. Big banks must be held accountable for their role in causing the climate crisis—shareholders should insist that banks accelerate and deepen investment in a just, clean energy future."
Financial institutions are actively funding the climate crisis through their continued financing of fossil fuel expansion. As the scientists point out in their letter, JPMorgan Chase has recklessly provided more than $382 billion in financing for fossil fuel companies since the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015, including $65.44 billion to the top 20 companies engaged in the greatest amount of fossil fuel expansion. Meanwhile, the United States experienced 18 separate major climate- and weather-related disasters in 2022, each of which caused over $1 billion in damage. Many of these disasters—including droughts, wildfires and intensified storms—bear the clear fingerprints of climate change. Altogether the 18 events led to the deaths of 474 people and cost an estimated $165 billion, making 2022 the third most costly year for U.S. weather and climate disasters since 1980.
"The science is clear: in order to reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, fossil fuel expansion must stop now, yet JPMorgan Chase and other big banks like Citi, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America continue to pour money into new oil, gas, and coal," said Arielle Swernoff, U.S. Banks Campaign Manager at STMP. "Over 1,300 scientists have come together to say: enough is enough. It's time for big banks to listen to the science and stop funding climate destruction."
The full letter can be found here.
UCS and the Adrian Dominican Sisters filed the letter as an exempt solicitation with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).