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    New Financial System Needed for Clean Energy

    By Michael Parks
    June 18, 2013, 8:48:31 AM EDT

    In the U.S., our energy system and our financial system have always run in tandem.

    The first business lit with incandescent bulbs was J.P. Morgan’s original financial company, located at 23 Wall Street. None other than Thomas Edison himself was on hand to flip the switch. Fast-forward to the present and it’s no coincidence that a few major interests dominate both the financial and the energy industries. The sheer scale of our energy system—billion dollar coal plants, globe-spanning supply chains—requires massive banks. The profits from our energy system, in turn, help make our biggest banks even bigger.


    Obviously, this situation isn’t working out so well for most of us. Our pension funds might provide for our personal futures, but they’re harming the futures of our children, our communities, and our planet. Our places of worship and universities channel their endowments to investments that no religious leader or ethics professor would ever recommend. Meanwhile, because our financing institutions are structured to make loans to a few large energy projects, there’s a major financing shortfall for the many smaller, distributed energy projects we really need.

    The point is: if we want a new, clean energy system, we’re going to have to build a new financial system.

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