Kerry told banks to stop lending and helping out fossil fuel companies. Now, states that rely on those industries are fighting back.
Fifteen state treasurers told Climate Envoy John Kerry to stop pressuring banks and financial institutions to drop the states because if they do then the states will drop them.
The states include Texas, Oklahoma, and coal-heavy West Virginia.
“We are writing today to express our deep concern with recent reports that you, and other members of the Biden Administration, are privately pressuring U.S. banks and financial institutions to refuse to lend or invest in coal, oil, and natural gas companies, as part of a misguided strategy to eliminate the fossil fuel industry in our country,” wrote West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore.
Moore cited the Politico article, “Kerry to Wall Street: Put your money behind your climate PR.” Sources reportedly told Politico about Kerry’s ambitions:
Kerry has pitched banks on creating a U.S. net-zero banking alliance following the climate commitments from six major Wall Street banks, according to two people familiar with the discussions. Citi, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs all set 2050 net-zero goals and JPMorgan Chase has said its lending would be aligned with the Paris agreement although Kerry and his team are pushing for more specific financial commitments as part of this effort.
A few people on Wall Street confirmed the push without providing details:
A Wall Street banker would not discuss specifics of what Kerry has asked, but confirmed that “the big U.S. banks are obviously discussing with his team directly.”
“It’s trying to figure out collectively whether there’s more that can be said,” the person said. An official at another Wall Street bank said Kerry made similar asks of that financial institution.
Daniel Firger, managing director of Great Circle Capital Advisors, said so far what banks have publicly pledged on climate is “vague,” and Kerry is now leading a “disambiguation” effort.
“No one knows what they mean yet, including Kerry’s team. But this is where the rubber hits the road,” said Firger, who has called for more climate financing from Wall Street. “It’s going to get quite fraught very quickly.”
The article came out in March. It looks like Firger made the correct prediction. Did Kerry think the states would sit back and take it?
“The coal, oil, and natural gas industries in our states are vital to our nation’s economy,” wrote Moore. “These industries provide jobs, health insurance, critical tax revenue, and quality of life to families across our country. As the Obama Administration’s War on Coal demonstrated, reckless attacks on the fossil fuel industry ultimately cut off paychecks for workers and take food off the table for hard-working middle-class families – the very people the Biden Administration claims to champion.”
Oklahoma relies on the natural gas industry. West Virginia without the coal industry?
“Therefore, we intend to put banks and financial institutions on notice of our position, as we urge them not give in to pressure from the Biden Administration to refuse to lend to or invest in coal, oil, and natural gas companies,” Moore continued. “As the chief financial officers of our respective states, we entrust banks and financial institutions with billions of our taxpayers’ dollars.
“It is only logical that we will give significant weight to the fact that an institution engaged in tactics that will harm the people whose money they are handling before entering into or extending any contract.”DONATE
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