(The Center Square) U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib is demanding that leaders of the seven largest banks in the U.S. agree to halt funding any new fossil fuel production.
The Democrat from Michigan made the demands at a recent House Financial Services Committee hearing.
“You have all committed, as you all know, to transition the emissions from lending and investment activities to align with pathways to net zero in 2050,” Tlaib told those testifying before the committee representing JPMorgan Chase & Co, U.S. Bancorp, PNC Financial Services, Citigroup, Bank of America, Truist Financial Corporation, and Wells Fargo & Co.
Speaking remotely through an internet connection, Tlaib read from her computer that the International Energy Agency said in order “to meet our global 2050 net sterile targets of limiting global temperature rise to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, or 1.5 degrees Celsius. So no new fossil fuel production starting today, so that’s like zero.”
She then instructed the bankers to, “Please answer with a simple yes or no: does your bank have a policy against funding new oil and gas products?”
Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase & Co. replied, “Absolutely not. That would be the road to hell for America.”
Tlaib’s remarks indicate she has a fundamental misunderstanding about the energy industry and the economy, industry leaders say.
Heywood Cooper, president of Houston-based Argos Minerals, told The Center Square, “If banks don’t lend to oil and gas companies, production falls and the price of gas at the pump goes up, electric bills go up, all products made possible by fossil fuels go up. The cost to transport goods and services goes up. Everything goes up when we’re already dealing with record high inflation.
“If daily U.S. oil production falls off because of lack of access to capital, inflation will go through the roof. There is no logic in what she’s saying.”
Midland-based Oil and Gas Workers Association board member Richard Welch told The Center Square, “It’s interesting that Rep. Tlaib is suggesting that the U.S. banking and energy industries comply with a 1.5 Celsius goal, which was devised by the United Nations and U.S. voters haven’t elected the UN to direct domestic banking or energy policy. …
“Her claim that ‘no new fossil fuel production, ‘starting today,’ would offset the degree by which we measure temperature, is absurd.”
Welch points to a report published by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which cites analyses refuting international climate models, data showing that climate-related deaths are at historic lows, and since the 1920s, atmospheric CO2 concentrations have only increased at a minuscule rate despite a far greater increased use of fossil fuels.
“It’s also worth nothing,” Welch added, “that from her eyeglasses to her makeup, to the shampoo and hair dryer she uses to the clothes she’s wearing, to the computer and the internet she used, they exist because of the oil and natural gas industry. Our industry makes over 6,000 products Americans use every day.”
Ed Longanecker, president of the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association, told The Center Square, “Oil and natural gas will remain a key pillar of our energy future. These continued attacks for political gain only exacerbate the challenges we face and do nothing to advance real solutions to meet our growing energy needs and to build on the ongoing, successful efforts of our industry to reduce emissions.”
He added that “institutional investors and financial experts understand that oil and natural gas will be critical to meeting both American and global energy demands for decades to come. Continuing with this restrictive strategy will make future challenges nearly impossible to overcome.”
Longanecker also noted what those in the industry have been saying for years: American made energy is the cleanest in the world.
“To put it into perspective, between 2005-2019, the U.S. reduced emissions by 970 mm tons while China and India emissions increased by 6,000 mm tons during the same time period,” Longanecker said.
“Switching to natural gas for power generation in the U.S. has reduced carbon dioxide emissions more than Germany’s $80 billion government funded Energiewende project, China’s $37 billion Three Gorges Dam-project, the world’s largest hydroelectric power plant, and Brazil’s hydropower projects, combined, all of which were funded by the U.S. oil and natural gas industry.”
Longanecker urged climate advocates to start working with the oil and gas industry to develop innovative policies that also secure energy security.
“Unleashing U.S. gas natural is literally the largest green initiative on the planet,” he said.
Kathleen Sgamma, president of Western Energy Alliance, agreed with Dimon.
“The ‘cure’ to climate change being proposed from the Left is worse than the problem,” Sgamma told The Center Square. “Economic analyses used by the IPCC show that GDP growth would be about 3% less in 2100 if we do nothing to ‘stop’ climate change, but that’s after a projected 340% growth in GDP.
“If the world stopped using oil and natural gas by 2035 or 2050, pick whatever unrealistic year you’d like, the consequences would be dire for humanity. There’s no energy source that does everything that oil and natural gas does. Wind and solar provide only a tiny fraction of world energy and even though they’re projected to grow through 2050, oil and natural gas are projected to outpace them.”