The World’s Biggest Birthday Candle For Big Oil’s Best Friend

A modest proposal to J.P. Morgan’s Jamie Dimon as he turns 65

Paul Greenberg
4 min readJul 29, 2021


“Forest fire” by Ervins Strauhmanis is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Co-authored with Reverend Billy

Congratulations Jamie Dimon!

The world’s biggest birthday candle is burning for you!

This year you turned 65, the age at which many Americans step away from their jobs and claim a well-deserved retirement. After all you’ve done, you’ve certainly earned the right to do the same. For 20 years you’ve piloted J.P. Morgan Chase to a place where it is now the world’s largest bank commanding $3.4 trillion in assets. Yours is the most recognized name and face of banking in the United States. When the President or Federal Reserve makes an important statement about economic policy, you’re nearly always asked to weigh in. If you retired now, you would be known as the iconic American financial figure of your era, just as J. Pierpont Morgan was in his. You are one of the only banking CEOs who survived the 2008 crash. A dozen other titans fell. You’re still standing and standing tall. Your own personal wealth now exceeds $2 billion.

So, really, it would be perfectly understandable if you retired now.

But if you left J.P. Morgan Chase as it is today, history would record a flaming asterisk next to your name. Because up to the present moment you have won in the world of money by inflicting enormous losses on the world of reality. By reality we mean the reality of planet Earth. That reality is being marked as we write this. After temperatures in the American West this summer soared into the 100s , the worst wildfire season in modern memory is blazing in your honor. That blaze will stand as testament to your life’s true accomplishments.

Because over your 20-year tenure you have helped J.P. Morgan Chase grow to become the bank fossil fuel companies turn to when they need underwriting.You brought J.P. Morgan Chase to that place by making one of your famous counter-intuitive wagers against the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement. In the weeks after Paris, the world’s banks were trying to figure out how to pull back from fossil fuels to satisfy the pledges made by their national governments. You did the opposite. You and JPM’s leadership saw only opportunity. You…



Paul Greenberg

New York Times bestselling author of Four Fish as well as The Climate Diet and Goodbye Phone, Hello World