Seize property to build wind and solar farms, says JP Morgan chief
Credit: By Simon Foy | 4 April 2023 | telegraph.co.uk ~~
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The chief executive of JP Morgan has suggested that governments should seize private land to build wind and solar farms in order to meet net zero targets.
Jamie Dimon, the longstanding boss of the Wall Street titan who donates to the Democratic Party, said green energy projects must be fast-tracked as the window for averting the most costly impacts of global climate change is closing.
In his annual shareholder letter, Mr Dimon said: “Permitting reforms are desperately needed to allow investment to be done in any kind of timely way.
“We may even need to evoke eminent domain – we simply are not getting the adequate investments fast enough for grid, solar, wind and pipeline initiatives.”
Eminent domain is when a government or state agency carries out a compulsory purchase of private property for public use and compensates the asset holder.
The proposal is unusual, especially coming from the longest-serving chief executive of a Wall Street bank, and could stir controversy as states in the US seek to crackdown on seizure orders.
In Iowa, state legislators on Monday passed a bill that aims to protect private property owners from eminent domain use by carbon pipeline companies.
Mr Dimon said the war in Ukraine was redefining the way countries and companies plan for energy security.
He added: “The need to provide energy affordably and reliably for today, as well as make the necessary investments to decarbonise for tomorrow, underscores the inextricable links between economic growth, energy security and climate change. We need to do more, and we need to do so immediately.
“To expedite progress, governments, businesses and non-governmental organisations need to align across a series of practical policy changes that comprehensively address fundamental issues that are holding us back.
“Massive global investment in clean energy technologies must be done and must continue to grow year-over-year.”
In the UK, reforms to Solvency 2 rules are expected to unleash a wave of investment in renewable energy projects after insurers and pension funds complained that EU-era regulations obstructed their ability to invest in infrastructure.
Mr Dimon’s comments also come as tensions between investors grow about how to tackle climate change.
In December, Vanguard, the world’s second largest asset manager, pulled out of Mark Carney’s global climate change alliance, saying the group’s full-blooded commitment to tackling climate change resulted “in confusion about the views of individual investment firms”.
Mr Dimon said: “Polarisation, paralysis and basic lack of analysis cannot keep us from addressing one of the most complex challenges of our time. Diverse stakeholders need to come together, seeking the best answers through engagement around our common interest.
“Bolstering growth must go hand in hand with both securing an energy future and meeting science-based climate targets for future generations.”
The banking chief also hit out against regulators in the wake of the banking crisis last month triggered by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB).
He said the collapse of SVB and the government-engineered takeover of Credit Suisse by its biggest rival risked undermining confidence in the sector.
He added: “Ironically, banks were incented to own very safe government securities because they were considered highly liquid by regulators and carried very low capital requirements.”
Mr Dimon also warned regulators against tightening rules for lenders following the recent market turmoil.
He said: “It is extremely important that we avoid knee-jerk, whack-a-mole or politically motivated responses that often result in achieving the opposite of what people intended.
“Now is the time to deeply think through and coordinate complex regulations to accomplish the goals we want, eliminating costly inefficiencies and contradictory policies.
“Very often, rules are put in place in one part of the framework without appreciating their consequences in combination with other regulations.”
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