Banking industry leaders clashed with Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., on Wednesday after Tlaib demanded they commit to immediately end all financing of all fossil fuel products.
Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JP Morgan, told the left-wing representative that her request would lead to despair and ruin.
“You have all committed, as you all know, to realign emissions from lending and investment activities to align with paths to net zero by 2050… So no new fossil fuel production, starting today, so is like zero. I̵[ads1]7;d like to ask all of you and go down the list, because again, you’ve all agreed to do this. Please answer with a simple yes or no, does your bank have a policy against financing new oil and gas products, Mr. Diamond?” asked Tlaib.
“Absolutely not, and that would be the road to hell for America,” Dimon replied.
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“Yeah. It’s okay. It’s okay,” Tlaib replied. “Sir, you know what, everyone who got a student loan waiver [that] have a bank account with your bank should probably withdraw their account and close their account.”
She continued, “The fact that you’re not even there to help relieve a lot of the people who are in debt, extreme debt because of student loan debt, and you’re out there criticizing it.”
Tlaib went on to ask the other bankers about their position, to which they all responded that they would continue to invest in oil and gas in addition to alternative energy projects.
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“We will continue to invest in and support clients investing in fossil fuels and in helping them transition to cleaner energy,” said Jane Fraser, CEO of Citigroup.
Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, echoed Fraser.
“We’re helping our clients make a transition and that means lending to both oil and gas companies and to new energy companies and helping monitor their course against the standards you’re talking about,” he said.
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Critics of the environmental policies Tlaib advocates argue that these guidelines have already reduced funding for fossil fuel projects, exacerbating the energy shortages seen in Europe since Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year. The American financier Kyle Bass, for example, argued that the transition from fossil fuels to alternative energy must not be rushed.
“These transitions take forty years, Joe. The transition from coal to natural gas took forty years. They take a very, very, very long time. We can’t just flip a switch,” he told CNBC in an interview last month.