JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon called for lawmakers to take drastic action in favor of a renewable energy transition, including the seizure of private property to make more land available for solar and wind farms.
Dimon, regarded as one of the most powerful investment bankers on Wall Street, wrote in his annual shareholder letter that “bolstering growth” in the global economy “must go hand in hand with both securing an energy future and meeting science-based climate targets.” He mentioned eminent domain, the power of a government to seize private land for public use, as one possible mechanism to accelerate the development of green energy sources.
“Permitting reforms are desperately needed to allow investment to be done in any kind of timely way. We may even need to evoke eminent domain,” he said. “We simply are not getting the adequate investments fast enough for grid, solar, wind and pipeline initiatives.”
Dimon also noted that the Russian invasion of Ukraine complicates efforts from many nations to move toward renewable energy due to elevated worldwide fuel costs. “We need to do more, and we need to do so immediately,” he continued. “Governments, businesses and non-governmental organizations need to align across a series of practical policy changes that comprehensively address fundamental issues that are holding us back. Massive global investment in clean energy technologies must be done and must continue to grow year-over-year.”
The executive contended that various Biden administration legislative actions, such as the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will enable $1 trillion in green energy initiatives as long as they are “implemented effectively.” The administration has indeed established a “whole-of-government effort” to reduce carbon emissions.
The dire commentary from Dimon follows his previous observation that rising energy prices have prompted many nations to increase their reliance on coal, thereby worsening emissions and necessitating the continued production of cleaner fossil fuels. “We should focus on climate. The problem with that is because of high oil and gas prices, the world is turning back on their coal plants,” he remarked last year. “It is dirtier. Why can’t we get it through our thick skulls, that if you want to solve climate, it is not against climate for America to boost more oil and gas?”
Dimon has also condemned the Biden administration for approaching hostile countries such as Saudi Arabia and Venezuela “hat in hand” to secure more oil. He likewise told lawmakers that banks refusing to fund new oil and gas ventures would create “the road to hell for America.”
Critics have nevertheless noted that JPMorgan Chase is involved with entities such as the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, an initiative of the United Nations which seeks to unify bank portfolios toward the goal of eliminating carbon emissions by 2050. Several Republican attorneys general contended last year that such objectives place the economic wellbeing of their constituents at risk due to higher energy costs as member companies “starve companies engaged in fossil fuel-related activities of credit on national and international markets.”
Dimon noted that “climate risk” is a contentious issue among many investors as shareholder meetings convene. One member of the new Climate-Related Financial Risk Advisory Committee, a body recently created by the Treasury Department to “understand and mitigate the risks that climate change poses” to economic stability, is Catherine Ansell, the executive director of climate risk at JPMorgan Chase.