Things got a little spicy during a House hearing when bank executives were asked to commit not to fund new oil and gas products.
The CEOs of several of America’s largest banks appeared on Capitol Hill and faced various questions on topics ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic to climate change.
At one point, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) pressed the executives on their commitment to transition away from emissions.
“You have all committed, as you all know, to transition the emissions from lending and investment activities to align with pathways to net zero in 2050,” the Michigan Democrat began.
She continued, “Do you know what the International Energy Agency has said is required to meet our global 2050 net sterile targets of limiting global temperature rise to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, or 1.5 degrees Celsius? So no new fossil fuel production starting today, so that’s like zero.”
“Please answer with a simple yes or no: does your bank have a policy against funding new oil and gas products?” Tlaib asked.
She kicked off her question with Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase & Co.
“Absolutely not,” Dimon responded.
But he was not content to respond with just a ‘no.’ Instead, he threw in a jab against the challenge as he said, “And that would be the road to hell for America.”
His response did not sit well with Tlaib, who suggested people should pull their money from his bank and go elsewhere.
“Yeah, that’s fine. That’s why sir, you know what, everybody that got relief from student loans, has a bank account with your bank should probably take out their account and close their account,” Tlaib fired back. “The fact that you’re not even there to help relieve many of the folks that are in debt, extreme debt because of student loan debt, and you’re out there criticizing it.”
Watch the video below:
Rep. @RashidaTlaib challenges bank CEOs to agree to stop funding fossil fuels, is rejected by every single one
Jamie Dimon: "That would be the road to Hell for America" pic.twitter.com/U7yr6AbtyF
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 21, 2022
Instead, she just seemed to want to demonize Dimon and make him look like a greedy, selfish person.
During another portion of the hearing, Tlaib stated that she would not even bother asking Dimon to answer her question because he “obviously” does not “care about working class people and frontline communities like ours, that are facing huge amounts of high rates of asthma, respiratory issues, and so much more, cancer rates are so high among my communities that I represent.”
The other executives of major banks who were in attendance also declined to agree to her pledge.
Transitioning to clean energy, in the long run, would be good for the planet. And realistically it will likely need to happen as there is not an infinite amount of oil. However, we need to have the technology and the infrastructure to switch to renewable energy.
Sometimes, the market does need shocks or incentives to develop the technology and the infrastructure. But yanking funding from oil and gas products when the technology and infrastructure for renewable energy are so far away would be, as Dimon put it would be a “road to hell.”
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