Republicans pledge allegiance to fossil fuels like it’s still the 1950s

(The Guardian, 7 Jun 2021) Republican-led states are threatening retaliation against banks that refuse to lend to coal, oil and gas companies in effort to delay transition to clean energy.

Joe Biden may be pressing for 2021 to be a transformational year in tackling the climate crisis, but Republicans arrayed in opposition to his agenda have dug in around a unifying rallying theme – that the fossil fuel industry should be protected at almost any cost.

For many experts and environmentalists, the Republican stance is a shockingly retrograde move that flies in the face of efforts to fight global heating and resembles a head in the sand approach to the realities of a changing American economy.

In a recent letter sent to John Kerry, Biden’s climate envoy, more than a dozen Republican state treasurers accused the administration of pressuring banks to not lend to coal, oil and gas companies, adding that such a move would “eliminate the fossil fuel industry in our country” in order to appease the US president’s “radical political preferences”.

The letter raised the extraordinary possibility of Republican-led states penalizing banks that refuse to fund projects that worsen the climate crisis by pulling assets from them. Riley Moore, treasurer of the coal heartland state of West Virginia, said “undue pressure” was being put on banks by the Biden administration that could end financing of fossil fuels and “devastate West Virginia and put thousands of families out of work”.

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The Guardian, 7 Jun 2021: Republicans pledge allegiance to fossil fuels like it’s still the 1950s