BusinessWeek named Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, as one of the "Best Managers of 2008" for steering the bank clear of most of the subprime mortgage icebergs that wrecked many of his competitors.
Unfortunately, the managerial skills that enabled Dimon to avoid the worst of the subprime mess are completely missing when it comes to energy policy.
Expressing frustration about U.S. energy policy and its dependence on foreign oil at the Yale University CEO Summit last December, Dimon said, “We need a real energy policy and it’s going to have to include taxing people on energy so that energy costs stay up and people buy smaller cars and smaller homes.”
Speaking on a leadership panel at the Centennial Global Business Summit last October at Harvard University, Dimon also called for higher taxes on energy. He criticized political leaders for lack of leadership “we don’t have the fortitude to tax oil, or to tax BTUs” and he proposed “taxing oil as it's pumped from the ground, rather than simply taxing gasoline at the pump.”
By calling for tax increases on traditional energy sources, Dimon is joining the war against fossil fuels while displaying a textbook description of a limousine liberal.
Most troubling, however, is this: Dimon is using the vast political and financial resources of JPMorgan to bring his energy policy vision to reality.
As the company’s corporate responsibility efforts make clear, JPMorgan is executing both external and internal strategies to raise energy prices by bringing about government-mandated reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
JPMorgan’s climate change policy commits the company “to advocate that the U.S. government adopt a market-based national policy on greenhouse gas emissions…” and “options include either a cap-and-trade or tax policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the lowest possible cost.”
Putting words into action, at a Senate hearing in 2007 a JPMorgan executive expressed support of a national framework that establishes a cap-and-trade scheme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
JPMorgan is also using the financial markets to attack coal – a cheap domestic source of energy. The company joined Citi and Morgan Stanley in signing the so-called Carbon Principles, which are guidelines to evaluate the carbon risk of financing and construction of electricity generation. In this instance, the company is delivering on its promise to “explore the potential financial liabilities of carbon emissions to large direct emitters.”