Dimon defends need for fossil fuel investments to Congress

JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said that the U.S. needs to invest in the fossil fuel industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the long term and protect economic growth.

“We aren’t getting this one right,” Dimon said when asked for his stance on the nation’s energy strategy during testimony before Congress Wednesday. “Investing in the oil and gas complex is good for reducing CO2.”

Jamie Dimon speaking Wednesday at a House Financial Services Committee hearing.

Al Drago/Bloomberg

Dimon also answered multiple questions on environmental, social and governance investing. He said that there needs to be “more work” in making clear what ESG ratings are and what they mean.

When asked if Russia had been removed from JPMorgan’s ESG fund suite, Dimon said the bank had “probably” done so and smiled. He said the bank would be “happy” to provide a more precise answer.

Later in the hearing, Dimon and Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf were questioned about their support of the State Financial Officers Foundation, a Republican group that’s been criticizing strategies that favor ESG over other investment types. Rep. Sean Casten, a Democrat from Illinois, asked if they will stop funding SFOF, which he said is “spreading disinformation.” 

“If that were true, we would probably cancel it,” Dimon said. Scharf said he agreed.

In response to another question, Dimon said JPMorgan is getting requests from every government and central bank around the world about ESG, and expects to soon spend “hundreds of millions” of dollars on the matters.

— With assistance from Jenny Surane.

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