JP Morgan Becomes Tool of Green Activists

JP Morgan Becomes Tool of Green Activists

Milloy Op-ed in The New York Sun
May 02, 2005

JP Morgan Chase's chief executive, William Harrison, is a dream come true for Left-wing anti-business activists. Not only did Mr. Harrison announce last week that JP Morgan Chase would fully surrender to their demand that the bank adopt activist approved lending policies - he also announced plans to make the bank an active tool of the radical environmental movement.Following activist demands, JP Morgan will compel its borrowers to embrace the unsubstantiated hysteria about global warming—thus putting their businesses at significant financial risk.Borrowers will be forced to disclose emissions of greenhouse gases—a practice likely to benefit only trial lawyers eager to sue businesses based on allegations that their greenhouse gas emissions contributed to global warming, which the lawyers hope to link to property damage from natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and other severe weather events.Borrowers will also be pressured to include on their balance sheets liabilities for global warming—essentially imaginary liabilities that will compel borrowers to reserve monies for paying off trial lawyers, Green activists, and their allies in the property and casualty insurance industry.JP Morgan Chase also agreed to allow the activists to dictate where the bank may lend money. Areas designated by activists as being of "high ecological" value will be "no-go" zones where lending is restricted. Since there are no objective standards for identifying areas of "high ecological value"—thereby leaving the activists in charge of designating those areas—the policy essentially gives the activists a veto over bank lending.The bank will also force borrowers to require that "indigenous peoples" have a say in each stage of project preparation, implementation, and operations. While this may sound reasonable at face value, in real world terms, it simply means that borrowers will be constantly fighting local groups who have been whipped up against them by activists.As if all this is not bad enough, CEO Harrison went above and beyond activist pressure to announce that JP Morgan Chase will now form and lead a coalition of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />U.S. banks that will pressure the American government for a national global warming policy.Although the Senate rejected the international global warming treaty 95-0 in 1997 and President Bush pulled America out of the treaty in 2001, JP Morgan Chase—a bank whose role is to provide financial services to society for a profit—will now become a lobbyist for global warming hysteria, an agenda that has already been rejected through our democratic political process.Adding insult to injury is JP Morgan Chase's denial that it caved in to activist pressure. JP Morgan Chase executive Rick Lazio told the Wall Street Journal that the bank didn't cave in but rather was "committed to establishing a significant leadership position on the environment." In a sense, Mr. Lazio is correct.Though Citigroup and Bank of America were first to succumb to pressure from the Rainforest Action Network back in 2004, neither of those corporate capitulators went so far as to agree to lobby the government on the ever-dubious global warming. So, in the competition among big banks to harm our economy by allowing the Greens to set national energy policy, JP Morgan Chase indeed leads this race to the bottom.And let's not forget the kind of cheap tricks that drove Mr. Harrison into the arms of the Rainforest Action Network in the first place. Last December, RAN took second-graders out of a public school in Mr. Harrison's hometown during the school day so that the second graders could protest at JP Morgan Chase's corporate headquarters.That stunt was followed by RAN activists plastering "wanted" posters along the street where Mr. Harrison lives.Another dismaying aspect of Mr. Harrison's capitulation is that it encourages the activists to continue attacking other law-abiding businesses—RAN is already polling it members about which industry should be besieged next—resulting in an ever worsening domino effect that will adversely impact not only the American economy, but also the developing economies of the most desperately poor regions of the globe.Thanks to the likes of Mr. Harrison and other craven corporate managers, people in the developing world who wish to better their lives through free enterprise will pay the biggest price of all—and there's no one to lobby for them.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />