A plea to Chase Bank | AspenTimes.com

A plea to Chase Bank

The following is an abridged, open letter to Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, which was presented to the Chase branch manager in Aspen on Thursday.

We are a group of local, concerned citizens in Aspen who have learned that almost 2% of the investment portfolio at Chase is invested in fossil fuel companies, including exploration in some cases.

We learned last week that you will not longer invest in any Arctic fossil fuel exploration, and also that the bank is curtailing a certain portion of its investments in coal extraction. We applaud this decision and think it is a great step in responding to the curtain of climate change that is rapidly lowering each day. Many scientists who are working in the field of climate change and reducing our carbon footprint predict that 2030 is the drop-dead date for the world to muster its courage and act, or there is no turning back, no matter what is done.

Though Aspen is a small community, maybe 7,500 permanent residents, we often have 20,000 visitors on a given high-season day, winter or summer. Also, we have recently learned that approximately 75 billionaires live or have second homes in Aspen. Approximately 105 billionaires live in NYC. We are also home to the Aspen Institute, one of the most influential and participatory think-tanks in the world. The Aspen Music Festival is the largest summer classical school and performance festival in the world. Last summer the Aspen Center for Physics had a half-dozen Nobel Prize-winning physicists in residence. There is such an amazing range of sports, summer and winter, in which to participate.

The Aspen Institute hosted an interdisciplinary conference in 1962 that focused on the institute’s role in promoting an informed national and international approach to environmental issues. This conference investigated the ways sharp, climatic changes can affect the conditions for life on earth. This conference had quite an impact on transforming the nature of climate research. The Aspen Institute is always ahead of its time. Just think of this event in 1962!

The city of Aspen is one of a handful of municipalities with 100% renewable power sources. That did not happen overnight. We are all doing what we can as individuals, but we realize national and state governments, and the large corporations around the world like Chase, are going to make the real difference and help save the globe as we know it. Our group is simply urging you to continue taking giant steps and soon divest 100% of your remaining fossil fuel portfolio.

We are a small community and it has been said that “when Aspen sneezes, it is on the front page of the USA Today.” Many of us carry Chase credit cards, and we would like to continue to do so. However, we need your help to make this giant difference and set the standard for other large companies to follow.

Roger Moyer and Bill Stirling

Co-chairs, Aspen Divestiture in Fossil Fuels Committees