JP Morgan, the world’s largest financier of fossil fuels, has reportedly warned their clients about the consequences of the climate crisis in leaked documents, according to The Guardian.
The report, obtained by Rupert Read, an Extinction Rebellion spokesperson, warned of the economic risks of human-caused global warming while also stating that the planet’s unsustainable trajectory threatens the survival of humanity. It added that climate change policy must change or the world will face irreversible consequences.
JP Morgan has financed around $75 billion to many companies expanding in fossil fuel areas, including fracking and Arctic oil and gas exploration.
The research in the report was carried out by economists David Mackie and Jessica Murray, and outlined that the world economy will see devastating hits due to climate change, primarily in the areas of human health, water stress, migration, and the survival of other life on the planet.
“We cannot rule out catastrophic outcomes where human life as we know it is threatened.”
The authors of the paper drew on prior research and forecasts by the International Monetary Fund and the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), noting that the planet is on track to exceed 3.5 C above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century. It added that accurate economic and health costs are difficult to predict at this point because they don’t consider the loss of wealth, the discount rate, and the potential for increased natural disasters.
World leaders and policymakers are encouraged to take action to change current economic policies as the ones that are already in place are likely to “push the earth to a place that we haven’t seen for many millions of years.” The paper adds that these changes are likely to be irreversible.
The authors acknowledge that while change may be occurring at micro levels, such as individually or within specific companies, this will not be enough to make a significant difference without the involvement of fiscal and financial authorities. They write that climate change “reflects a global market failure in the sense that producers and consumers of CO2 emissions do not pay for the climate damage that results.”
While the path to change remains steep, some financial analysts are hopeful that the tide may eventually turn, especially as solar and wind energy become more competitive with fossil fuel companies. Additionally, due to pressure from activists and divestment campaigners, several major institutions are pledging to make climate more of a priority.