More than fifty climate change activists, some carrying signs or chanting “Chase funds climate chaos,” demonstrated Friday morning in front of the Chase bank branch on Central Street in Evanston.
The protesters called for JPMorgan Chase, the bank’s parent firm, to stop financing fossil fuel developments.
Evanston resident Jessy Bradish, who led the rally, told Evanston Now that JP Morgan Chase, the international banking and investment firm, is the “number one financier of fossil fuel projects” in the world, with $317 billion invested since most nations signed the Paris Climate Accords in 2015.
In a letter being sent to Jamie Dimon, the company’s CEO, the protesters, some of whom have Chase bank accounts, said, “As JPMorgan Chase customers, we are appalled by your continued financing of the climate crisis.”
The demonstrators were members of a variety of environmental and climate advocacy organizations, such as E-Town Sunrise and Chicago Area Peace Action. Their letter to bank CEO Dimon said “Chase must stop funding any fossil fuel expansion projects immediately to avoid climate catastrophe,” events such as more heat waves, droughts and fires, and storms.
On its website, JPMorgan Chase states that the company is taking steps to align investment policies with the goals of the Paris Accords, with intermediate targets for the year 2030, and setting a “path for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.”
The company also says they “aim to facilitate more than $2.5 trillion over the next 10 years to address climate change and contribute to sustainable development, including $1 trillion for green initiatives.”
However, the protesters said the bank is doing too little, and doing it too slowly.
The letter to Dimon said “JPMorgan Chase’s practice of prioritizing shareholder profits at the expense of the health and safety of people and communities must stop,” and there are only eight years left to turn climate change around or the results will be devastating.
Protest leader Bradish said Chase Bank customers might “look elsewhere” to put their money if JPMorgan Chase does not take more dramatic action against climate change.
While that may have small impact on a multi-billion dollar corporation, the protesters said they will demonstrate at other Chase branches in the near future, hoping that more people will join the efforts to pressure the bank.
One of the demonstrators is already committed to the cause at a very young age. Seven-year-old Levi Wolf, who was at the Central Street protest with his grandparents, said “fossil fuels are bad for the environment.”