What’s Going On Here?
Sometimes good news comes from the most unexpected of places. So it was this week with a report leaked from JP Morgan that acknowledged, in no uncertain terms, the threat posed by climate change: “we cannot rule out catastrophic outcomes where human life as we know it is threatened” JPM’s economists warned their shareholders.
What Does This Mean?
Feel like you’ve heard it all before? Like us, you’re probably a quivering, petrified mess from a seemingly endless stream of such headlines backed up by not-very-much-actual-action. It can feel like watching a disaster movie – one in which you’re waiting for the turning point, except the protagonist is locked in a store cupboard and the disaster goes on unabated. We feel ya.
But is this news different? Dare I say it, more hopeful?
This isn’t from Greta Thunberg or ‘alarmist, communist, crusty-hippie, conspiracist’ Extinction Rebellion; it’s from economists at the heart of the planet’s biggest fossil fuel funder. The bank that wrecked the planet is saying: ‘OK, someone wrecked the planet’. Thanks?
But what’s more, the bank that stands to gain – and lose, to be fair – the most from its fossil fuel investments is screaming out a warning, in secret, to its shareholders. No bluff, no greenwashing, no ‘net-zero’ bluster. You could even say it’s telling the truth.
Why Should We Care?
However vague and distant this kind of news sounds (‘distant corporation sends warning of climate change, something might happen’ ) this will have real-life repercussions. What will they be? We’d be lying if we said we knew. But change – in the context of global financial behemoths at least – starts with the sort of shareholder anxiety that forced BP to announce its intention to go net-zero by 2050. The sort of commentary that leads analysts like Jim Cramer to assert that “fossil fuel stocks are like tobacco stocks, and we don’t want to own them”. And the sort of reports that are distributed on the hush to people with billions of pounds invested in increasingly vulnerable stocks.
And what is clear is, as the report states, “the earth is on an unsustainable trajectory. Something will have to change at some point if the human race is going to survive”. That ‘something’ actually being everything, starting with the way the world’s biggest banks fund the world’s biggest polluters.
- Get active (like this lot) against fossil fuel companies – activism works!
- The soft denial implicit in ‘we’ll innovate out of this crisis’ is more insidious than overt climate change denial and no less impactful. Learn what climate denial like this looks like and how to counter it in your everyday conversations, on social media and at work.
- Take a closer look at BP’s net-zero announcement and why not everyone is as pumped as others…