JPMorgan Chase draws opposition from local climate activists

PROVIDENCE – Local environmental activists continue to push back against JPMorgan Chase & Co. for financing the fossil fuel industry.

More than 20 protesters with Climate Action Rhode Island, the state’s chapter of a national environmental campaign, held signs and chanted outside Chase Bank’s newest location on Westminster Street on Jan. 14. The branch, which opened in December, was originally slated for a ribbon-cutting ceremony that day but it never happened.

In a statement, the bank said the ribbon-cutting, which was previously announced in a public invitation, had been canceled due to an “internal conflict.” But Brian Wilder, lead organizer for CARI, maintained that the presence of protesters “absolutely” factored into the bank’s decision to call off the event.

Despite the lack of cut ribbons, Wilder characterized the small, daylong protest as a success, part of a larger national campaign to stop JPMorgan Chase from funding the fossil fuel industry.

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A 2019 report from a coalition of environmental organizations named JPMorgan Chase the world’s top financer of fossil fuel industries, leading over No. 2 Wells Fargo by more than $40 billion.

In a statement, JPMorgan Chase said it was committed to funding $200 billion in clean financing by 2025.

Wilder, however, said he had not yet seen “concrete action” toward this commitment, nor did it negate the bank’s continued lending to the fossil fuel industry. Ideally, he would like to see the bank stop providing new funding to fossil fuels and gradually phase out its existing funding, he said.

Nancy Lavin is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at Lavin@PBN.com.

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