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green and sustainable business

Big Coal’s Dirty Money

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This is adpated from a recent post I wrote for Triple Pundit.

coal_fired_power_plantThe Sierra Club has long had it right: There’s no such thing as ‘clean coal’ and all of the blather and money spent on this nebulous and mostly illusory technology is time and well, energy, ill-spent to appease powerful coal interests.

A recent blog post from Mark Kresowik, Corporate Responsibility Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, calls out JPMorgan Chase, and particularly the investment bank’s CEO Jamie Dimon. Dimon talks a good game, expressing support for strong action on global warming and JPMorgan Chase’s commitment to clean-energy investments. “We try hard to be great corporate citizens,” Dimon says. “We need good policy on energy and the environment.”

But Sierra Club research has “pulled back the curtain and uncovered that his rhetoric doesn’t match his company’s action,” Kresowik says. JPMorgan Chase “is pouring billions of dollars into dirty coal plant projects – projects that would dramatically increase global warming pollution and ensure runaway global warming.”

JPMorgan Chase is also a big financier for the “egregious mining companies engaging in the most egregious mining practices,” Kresowik continues. For example the company is financing Massey Energy and three of the four largest mountaintop removal coal mining companies in America. For those unfamiliar with the terminology, mountaintop removal coal mining features blowing up the country’s oldest mountain range in Appalachia, “leaving a desolate and polluted landscape.”

More than 500 mountains have already been leveled and more than 2,000 miles of streams buried as a result, the Sierra Club says.

So with its promises about global warming and its protestations about being a good energy steward, the club asks, “Why is JPMorgan Chase financing massive new dirty coal plants in Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina and South Carolina?”

Of course the short and and obvious answer is money, and the making of lots of it, which is after all JPMorgan Chase’s business.

To help expose the disconnect between Dimon’s words and actions, the Sierra Club is launching a public education campaign “to ask him to walk the talk.” Joining the club in this effort are the Rainforest Action Network, the Waterkeeper Alliance and the New York Public Interest Research Group.

Sierra Club is working on other fronts to “stop the coal rush;” its website has detailed, up-to-date information on the status of proposed coal plants across the country, including their estimated annual CO2 emissions. There’s also a comprehensive factsheet on Dirty Coal Power.

For what it’s worth JPMorgan Chase should be reminded, constantly, that 30 percent of global warming pollution comes from coal, there is no such thing as clean coal and that coal is also a leading source of mercury contamination.

If it is serious about being a good corporate citizen it should stop funding dirty coal, especially mountaintop removal coal mining and risky coal plants.

But what are the odds of that happening?

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Written by William DiBenedetto

August 14, 2009 at 6:59 am

2 Responses

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  1. Sad to say the odds of JPMorgan Chase halting their funding of big dirty coal are very slim to none. Which is really quite frustrating for many of us. Money makes the world go round, no matter what that money is actually financing. I sincerely hope that the Sierra Club can succeed in their campaign. I’ve written about the myths of clean coal on my blog http://iaminformed.wordpress.com/2009/07/06/carbon-capture-the-questions-issues/

    Tyler Bradt

    August 14, 2009 at 7:17 am

  2. Great site, I now have you bookmarked to come back again.

    solar heating

    August 16, 2009 at 1:38 am


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