Chase: Protect the Verde Island Passage

The Verde Island Passage (VIP) is the most biodiverse marine habitat in the world, earning it the nickname the “Amazon of the oceans”. Right now, it’s set to become the epicenter of fossil fuel expansion in Southeast Asia. 

16 fossil fuel expansion projects — 8 LNG import terminals and 8 gas-fired power plants — are slated for the Batangas region of the Philippines, threatening the VIP and the 2 million people who call it home and rely on it for sustenance and livelihoods. 

Despite impacts and resistance from a growing movement of frontline communities, churches, civil society organizations, fisherfolk, and community groups, JPMorgan Chase is still bankrolling these projects.

Sign the petition below, demanding Chase to listen to communities, defund these projects, and protect the VIP!

On March 20, 2023, the world’s top scientists from the IPCC told us we have less than 7 years to cut global fossil fuel use in half if we have any chance of keeping our climate from overheating past the 1.5°C danger zone. We’re already seeing crop failures, increased food prices, and climate disasters at just 1.2°C. Without rapid action, we’re on course to surpass 2°C or more — with devastating consequences for all of us.

Given this urgency, it is unacceptable that JPMorgan Chase continues to pour hundreds of billions of dollars into fossil fuel companies and their dirty expansion projects, including liquefied “natural” gas (LNG). LNG is conventional or unconventional gas cooled at around -160°C and condensed into a liquid in terminals situated on the coast or offshore. From there, the liquefied gas can be shipped on tankers to be exported, regasified, and burned on the other side of the planet. In addition to being an extremely energy-intensive process, creating such long supply chains means even more opportunities for methane to escape into the atmosphere. 

LNG is not natural at all. This methane gas continues to be touted by industry, governments, and banks as a “bridge fuel,” even after the International Energy Agency stated that in their special report, Net Zero by 2050: A Road Map for the Global Energy Sector, “No new natural gas fields are needed in the Net Zero Emissions beyond those already under development. Also not needed are many of the LNG liquefaction facilities currently under construction or at the planning stage.”

Meanwhile, the Philippines are facing massive fossil fuel expansion, with eight LNG import terminals and eight gas-fired power plants slated for the Batangas region alone. The Verde Island Passage (VIP) is the most biodiverse marine habitat in the world; The Philippine Energy Plan 2018-2040 and the 14.1 GW of proposed projects led by the Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corporation Global Power Corporation (SMC Global Power) — of which you are a financier — threaten its very existence.

The VIP and two million people who call it home are already facing the impacts of the climate crisis, existing fossil fuel infrastructure, and ship traffic, including a devastating, 800,000-liter oil spill in February 2023. This development will only increase those impacts, including an increase in air, water, and thermal pollution from both the plants and an increase in tanker traffic; competition for freshwater due to the plants’ water usage; irreversible damage to both marine and land ecosystems; and even displacement of the coastal communities.

Fisherfolk and other community members are already dealing with a decrease in fish in the VIP, in addition to a rise of mercury levels in the water – something that will only increase with the increase of methane gas terminals.

Despite these climate and community impacts, reputational and financial risks, and a rapidly changing market, your bank is among those backing these projects. As such, you are financing climate disasters and violating human rights. We have a clear set of demands for you: 

- Do not provide any direct or indirect financial services for the development or operation of new and expanded LNG import facilities; or any such gas infrastructure projects planned in the Verde Island Passage/Batangas region.

- Do not support any LNG import facility that exacerbates environmental injustice to ensure that low-income communities of color communities do not suffer disproportionately from hazardous pollution.

- Decline any transactions or financial services for LNG import facilities and associated infrastructure that do not meet the requirements of Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples in their ancestral territories. 

- End support, through any direct or indirect means, fossil fuel expansion, in line with the conclusions of the International Energy Agency “Net Zero by 2050” report.

- Banks and financial institutions must align their overall corporate policy, portfolios and dealbooks with a 1.5°C degree global temperature scenario. 

Ending fossil fuel expansion, getting off fossil fuels, and making a just transition to renewables will help our collective efforts towards climate stability and give us a fighting chance to stop climate catastrophe. 

No more false solutions. Your bank MUST withdraw its support for LNG import expansion in the the Philippines and SMC Global Power’s 14.1 GW of proposed gas-fired power plants. 

We need real climate solutions NOW.