The money they loan ends up building pipelines (endangering rivers and streams, and the rights of Native Americans). Those loans support fracking wells (even though scientists have proven they leak huge amounts of greenhouse gases). That money helps build giant terminals for exporting more gas and oil, even though everyone knows the world has to switch to renewable energy.
We know none of this is necessary
Because engineers have done such good work in recent years, solar and wind power is now the cheapest way to generate power on our planet. So why do big banks keep loaning money to the fossil fuel industry? Because they can still make a quick profit—but only at the expense of everyone who comes after us.
Ending these loans will play a big part in speeding the energy transition—and it’s a job that older Americans are especially qualified to work on. That’s because, after a lifetime of work, our retirement accounts contain many of the assets that back these loans. Chase or Citibank or Bank of America or Wells Fargo needs us more than we need them. They may not pay as much attention as they should to younger people because they don’t have much money yet, but they will definitely pay attention to our generation.