JPMorgan warns it might get walloped by the climate crisis

The bank's annual report added 'climate change' as a risk factor, saying it could hurt operations and customers.

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    The climate crisis and its potential impact on society, markets and the global economy is gaining more attention from the business community, including Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup and now JPMorgan Chase [File:Bloomberg]
    The climate crisis and its potential impact on society, markets and the global economy is gaining more attention from the business community, including Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup and now JPMorgan Chase [File:Bloomberg]

    JPMorgan Chase & Co, long a target of public scrutiny for its relationship with the fossil-fuel industry, is getting more serious about the impacts of the climate crisis.

    The bank's annual regulatory report on Tuesday added "climate change" as a risk factor, saying it could hurt operations and customers. Risks including prolonged droughts or flooding, increased frequency of wildfires, rising sea levels and altered rainfall could "prompt changes in regulations or consumer preferences, which in turn could have negative consequences for the business models of JPMorgan Chase's clients," the company wrote in the filing.

    The added disclosure came a day after JPMorgan vowed to stop financing coal-fired power plants unless they're using technology to capture and sequester carbon. The bank also won't provide project financing for new oil and gas developments in the Arctic.

    The climate crisis and its potential impact on society, markets and the global economy is gaining more attention from the business community. This month, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. also added to their regulatory filings stronger warnings about the toll it could take on their businesses.

    Environmental activists have been pressuring JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank, to divest from the fossil-fuel industry, and have called on shareholders to remove Lee Raymond, the longtime climate skeptic who previously ran Exxon Mobil Corp., from the lender's board.

    Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, another target of environmentalists, has said climate change can be solved only through government policies.

    "I've always thought it was a problem," Dimon said at the bank's investor day Tuesday. "We should acknowledge the problem and start working on it."

    Financial firms often include dozens of disclaimers about potential risks in their annual 10-K filings, but JPMorgan has typically focused on those more directly related to the economy, regulation and competition. Economists at the firm have been warning clients about the potential for climate change to threaten the global economy and even the human race.

    SOURCE: Bloomberg