Corporate Accountability and Finance
"How good will the business judgment of companies that make high-carbon choices now look in five, 10, 20 years, when it becomes clear that heavily polluting infrastructure has become deadly and must be phased out before the end of its useful life?"
- Todd Stern, U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change
Coal is not cheap. It is a bad investment for companies, shareholders, ratepayers, and our country. Instead of locking our economy into decades of pollution, rising costs, and risky subprime loans for coal plants and destructive coal mining, investors can earn better returns by choosing energy efficiency and clean energy.
As a consumer of electricity, a customer of a bank, an investor, shareholder, or a taxpayer, you can help ensure companies don't make the same short-sighted decisions they have in the past. Our country can't afford to make more bad financial choices, and coal is a very bad decision.
Meet Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase is one of the biggest financial supporters of dirty coal, including recently underwriting notorious Massey Energy and the riskiest proposed coal plants in the country.
History and Success
In the spring of 2007, just a month after private equity firm KKR agreed to scrap 8 of TXU’s 11 proposed coal-fired power plants, the CEO and shareholders of another Texas company, Dynegy, voted to create a partnership with LS Power to build as many as 8 new coal plants around the country. Outside that meeting in Houston six activists from the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign and our partners staged a small protest, dubbing Dynegy the new “King of Dirty Coal”. A few months later that small protest grew to more than 2,000 people around the country calling Bruce Williamson, the CEO of Dynegy, to protest his company’s dirty plans. At Dynegy’s annual meeting in May hundreds of people from six different states convened to continue the protest, and the campaign delivered more than 10,000 petitions in a presentation to the Board of Directors. The Beyond Coal Campaign’s Corporate Accountability and Finance initiative was underway.
“Very little new power plant development is going on in the country and very little can be economically justified in the current environment.”
– Bruce Williamson, CEO of Dynegy, November 2008
In January of 2009 Dynegy announced that they were dropping out of the coal plant development business. In just two years the initiative has grown from half a dozen courageous individuals to tens of thousands of active and engaged participants who have changed the rules of investing in coal, helping stopped proposed coal plants around the country. Companies and financial institutions increasingly understand that coal is risky and not as good an investment as creating millions of jobs with energy efficiency and clean energy.
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It takes billions of dollars to build a new coal plant, blow the top off a mountain, or try to keep a dirty, inefficient dinosaur of a fifty-year old coal plant operating. Take action today and let some of the individuals behind dirty coal money know that you want them investing in energy efficiency and clean energy, not dirty coal:
Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman - He's the 50th richest man in the country, so owning the company proposing more new coal-fired power plants in the country may not be a big deal to him, but its a big deal for the affected communities, the environment, and our pocketbooks.
PacRim Coal partner and Snowbird Resort owner Dick Bass - "It's sadly ironic that the owner of a business that is solely dependent upon heavy snowfall and consistent winters is pushing a project that is a direct threat to the ski industry and completely contrary to the ideals of outdoor recreation," said Ryan Demmy Bidwell with the Ski Area Citizen's Coalition. Dick Bass' proposed coal mine on the Chuitna River in Alaska would be the third largest strip mine in the United States.
CMS Energy CEO David Joos - He doesn't believe in global warming and thinks there are 500 years worth of economically recoverable coal in the ground (there isn't). Despite a recommendation from Michigan Public Service Commission staff that there are better alternatives to building a new coal plant near Bay City, Mr. Joos and CMS Energy are still planning to pour billions into an expensive and unncessary dirty coal plant.
"We're in this pickle in the first place because these banks made unwise loans. Giving a loan that doesn't take climate change into account also is an unwise loan."
- Yvo De Boer, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
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