It was reported that the chief executive of one of the largest banking and financial companies in the world, JP Morgan, suggested that private property should be seized to build wind and solar farms.
The move was necessary, the banking boss said, to met net-zero targets being set by governments who have signed up to an ambitious green agenda.
But did he say that? The short answer is yes.
Jamie Dimon, described as the “longstanding boss of the Wall Street titan” by The Telegraph, addressed the fast-tracking green energy projects in an annual letter to shareholders.
In his annual shareholder letter, Mr Dimon said: “Permitting reforms are desperately needed to allow investment to be done in any kind of timely way.”
“We may even need to evoke eminent domain – we simply are not getting the adequate investments fast enough for grid, solar, wind and pipeline initiatives.”
In Ireland, the phrase commonly used for eminent domain is when a government or state authority gets a court order for a compulsory purchase of private property.
The order is usually only granted for public works and the owner must be compensated – think of a farm being bought to build a road. However, it is undoubtedly still the case that the sale is forced and the property is seized for public use against the wished of the property owner.
The suggestion from one of the mega-rich elites that such a drastic measure regarding compulsory purchase of private assets could be utilised raised more than a few eyebrows.
Dimon is CEO and Chair of JP Morgan Chase and Co, which emerged from a 2000 merge between JP Morgan and Chase Manhattan Bank. In 2008, the company received a $25 billion bailout from the Federal Reserve.
Now, Dimon says “the window for action to avert the costliest impacts of global climate change is closing.”
He claims that the Ukraine war is “redefining the way countries and companies plan for energy security.”
“The need to provide energy affordably and reliably for today, as well as make the necessary investments to decarbonize for tomorrow, underscores the inextricable links between economic growth, energy security and climate change. We need to do more, and we need to do so immediately.”
The JP Morgan chief then says that “a series of practical policy changes” are needed to “comprehensively address fundamental issues that are holding us back.”
“Massive global investment in clean energy technologies must be done and must continue to grow year-over-year,” he asserts.
And he spells out what he believes must be done if green plans don’t proceed at the required pace.
“At the same time, permitting reforms are desperately needed to allow investment to be done in any kind of timely way. We may even need to evoke eminent domain — we simply are not getting the adequate investments fast enough for grid, solar, wind and pipeline initiatives.”
However, the Telegraph noted that other investors had indicated that such an approach may not be widely supported.
Mr Dimon’s comments also come as tensions between investors grow about how to tackle climate change.
In December, Vanguard, the world’s second largest asset manager, pulled out of Mark Carney’s global climate change alliance, saying the group’s full-blooded commitment to tackling climate change resulted “in confusion about the views of individual investment firms”.
The banking chief’s letter also revealed that “2022 was somewhat surprisingly another strong year for JPMorgan Chase, with the firm generating record revenue for the fifth year in a row, as well as setting numerous records in each of our lines of business.”
“We earned revenue in 2022 of $132.3 billion and net income of $37.7 billion,” he wrote.
“We grew market share in several of our businesses and continued to make significant investments in products, people and technology while exercising strict credit discipline. In total, we extended credit and raised capital of $2.4 trillion for our consumer and institutional clients around the world.”