This lunchtime over 60 health professionals gathered outside JP Morgan Chase’s London Embankment offices to highlight the bank’s leading investment role in the new fossil fuel extraction which is driving increasing levels of climate-related death and suffering.
Health for Extinction Rebellion, who have a long running campaign against JP Morgan’s fossil fuel investments (HXR, 2021, 2022, 2022-2, 2022-3, 2022-4), sought to emphasise, through their action today, the intolerable and growing human health impacts of the climate and ecological crisis, and the complicity of firms, like JP Morgan, who continue to drive fossil fuel extraction.
The action comes as the ‘Energy Intelligence Forum’, being held in London this week, is the focus of major protests and demands to get “Oily Money Out” of our politics, out of COP 28, and out of power.
Today’s action saw 14 health professionals lay themselves, shrouded, in the road outside the conference in military hospital style. Other health professionals circled amongst them, tending their ‘fallen’ colleagues, and laying headstones indicating the climate health impact each represented. A mock inquest was then held, in which health-workers gave testimony on the deaths already caused by the planetary emergency. These included among others, the 6 million deaths every year resulting from air pollution (Fuller, 2020), the 5 million deaths globally each year from extreme temperatures (Zhoa. 2021), and the 43,000 who died from the climate-change associated drought and famine in Somalia last year (WHO/Unicef, 2021)
For a slideshow of this JP Morgan action please click here [Credit: Crispin Hughes)
Following the action the group handed in a letter addressed to Luke Nelson, JP Morgan Chase’s head of sustainability.
New extraction goes against the explicit warning of the International Energy Agency (IEA, 2021) and the United Nations (UN news, 2022), yet politicians, lawyers and financiers continue to support a fossil fuel industry that has known for decades that fossil fuels cause deadly global warming (Scientific American, 2015). To emphasise this complicity, health workers today also held ‘Cigarette-style’ Health warnings, and banners reading ‘Fossil Fuels Kill’, and “Cause of Death = Fossil Fuel Finance”. The action sought to draw a direct parallel with the Tobacco industry which was complicit in 100,000’s if not millions of deaths, by knowingly misleading the public around the health impacts of smoking.
Despite the bleak reality of the climate crisis, the action also emphasised the numerous potential benefits for human health of climate action (The Health Foundation, 2023), and the need to galvanise mass support for the appropriate action needed to safeguard a healthy future.
Health for Extinction Rebellion previously wrote to JP Morgan Chase’s CEO Jamie Dimon, ( 3rd September 2021 to outline their concerns and to suggest a positive route forward for the bank, but have yet to receive a reply. They have returned on numerous occasions speaking ‘off record’ with concerned employees.
We return in number today, to highlight the health impacts of the climate and ecological crisis (as above) and to additionally ask:
Does JPM operate within the rule of Law? And
Can law exist in a vacuum removed from morality?
JPM’s own business principles include “A Commitment To Integrity, Fairness and Responsibility”, stating that; ‘We face facts’ and ‘We help strengthen the communities in which we live and work.’
Yet the JP Morgan economists David Mackie and Jessica Murray admit in their paper, written in 2020, that the climate crisis will impact the world’s economy, human health, water stress, migration and the survival of other species on Earth. They state; “We cannot rule out catastrophic outcomes where human life as we know it is threatened,”
How can JP Morgan consider that it is facing facts and strengthening communities, when the evidence increasingly suggests that continued investment in new fossil fuels is tantamount to intergenerational genocide. Certainly it seems more and more likely that society in the future will judge companies such as JP Morgan as operating both immorally and outside international laws.
Quotes from participating Health workers:
“During the August heatwave of 2022 my father suffered a heart attack and died the following week. He had chronic physical health problems and like many of the most vulnerable in our society could not manage the extreme heat that climate change is bringing to us. This is not a problem of the future. It is a health catastrophe that we are living through right now”.
Dr Jethro Purkis Specialty Doctor Bristol
“Governments and companies that continue to finance and license new coal, oil and gas are doing so at the expense of their citizens. Fossil fuels are the drivers of deadly climate change and air pollution in our communities. This is an industry that has delayed and denied climate change for decades in the name of greed, putting profit above all else, and from a health and a moral perspective it’s beyond time to shut it down”
Dr Juliette Brown, Consultant Psychiatrist
“I am here demonstrating for my pregnant patients, for the new mums and for their babies that I see on a daily basis, I am also here for my own children to say that the fossil fuel companies are destroying any chance of our children being able to live any sort of “normal” future. That the burning of fossil fuels have caused irreversible damage to our planet and that we need companies to stop all new fossil fuel exploration and to start being world leaders in green energy. It is possible, we just need them to start putting the planet and people before profit”.
Charlotte Francis. Perinatal Pelvic Health Specialist Physiotherapist
“I am a retired GP and to my last breath I will endeavour to spread the scientific truths which the powers-that-be try so desperately to conceal from the public. I will always denounce the greed and self-interest borne of their grotesque worship of money which has clearly eaten away at their consciences, even their very humanity, to the extent that they are apparently
unable to relate to the enormous suffering already in the southern hemisphere,
let alone envisage the horrors ahead if they continue their love-affair with Fossil Fuels”.
Dr Valerie Davies, Retired General Practitioner
Dr Hilary Neve – 07970 558096
Dr Juliette Brown – 07535 530546
Ali Rowe – 07901 916489
Link to action media: https://show.pics.io/xr-global-media-breaking-news
Previous protests by HXR: https://healthforxr.com/news/
Banking on Climate Chaos, 2023. Available at: https://www.bankingonclimatechaos.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/BOCC_2023_vF.pdf, [Accessed 16-10-2023]
Fuller R, Landrigan J et al, 2022. Pollution and health: A progress update. In: The Lancet 6/6, pp 535-547. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(22)00090-0
Hall, S, 2015. Exxon Knew about Climate Change almost 40 years ago. In: Scientific American 26(10)
IEA, 2021. Net zero by 2050: A roadmap for the international energy sector. Paris https://www.iea.org/reports/net-zero-by-2050, License: CC BY 4.0
The Health Foundation, 2023. Health and climate change: complex problems with co-benefits.Published online 10 (01). Available at: https://www.health.org.uk/publications/long-reads/health-and-climate-change-complex-problems-with-co-benefits [Accessed 11-10-2023]
UN News, 2022. Climate change: More fossil fuel investment, just ‘delusional’, warns Guterres. Published June, 2022. Available online: https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/06/1120372, [Accessed 11-10-2023]
WHO/UNICEF, 2022. From insight to action: examining mortality in Somalia. Joint report published 2022 by WHO and Unicef. Available Online: https://reliefweb.int/report/somalia/insight-action-examining-mortality-somalia [Accessed 11-10-23]
Zhao Q, Guo Y et al, 2021. Global, regional, and national burden of mortality associated with non-optimal ambient temperatures from 2000 to 2019: a three-stage modelling study. In: The Lancet Planetary Health 5/7 pp 415-425. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(21)00081-4