At the Climate 2020 website today, my colleague Ryan Brightwell has been assessing the ‘green-ness’ of green bonds, an increasingly popular financial instrument intended to be all about generating investment in environmentally sustainable projects. Given their rise to prominence, Ryan describes these bonds as ‘the new black in the world of environmental finance’, and mentions how the proceeds of one green bond issued by the Export-Import Bank of India are being deployed to develop a railway link vital to the operations of the proposed Rampal coal plant project in Bangladesh. This post digs deeper into Exim Bank’s green bond deal – one with very black implications for the world-renowned Sundarbans mangrove forest and its inhabitants.
With November’s COP 22 meeting in Marrakech fast approaching, the commitments made by French banks in 2015 à propos their financing of the coal sector are being seen for what they are: highly mixed. For one thing, Natixis confirmed, in its first such publicly declared sectoral policy, that it is ending project financing for all new coal plants – worldwide. Yet, in an indication of gaping flaws in their climate commitments adopted just before COP 21 in Paris last year, Crédit Agricole and Société Générale are involving themselves in several coal power projects, most notably in Indonesia.
Friends of the Earth France and BankTrack believe that Crédit Agricole and Société Générale must immediately withdraw from projects which are inconsistent with the Paris Agreement, and they must also, along with BNP Paribas, face up to and engage in forthcoming climate events by bringing a definitive end to all of their financing for coal projects.
The gloves are now well and truly off in the Rampal coal plant saga taking place in Bangladesh. The country’s prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, has just recently placed coal protesters in danger by saying they are equivalent to the terrorists who murdered 24 people in a Dhaka café in July. The assumption has to be that resorting to this kind of mud-slinging is a sure sign that you’re defending the indefensible – and, too, that the justifications being put up for your ‘dream project’ by the project’s promoters are now being revealed to be seriously deficient.
To wit, we’re publishing a new, detailed and – necessarily, very necessarily – long rebuttal from campaign colleagues at the National Committee for Saving the Sundarbans to threadbare and often misleading assertions from the Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Ltd (BIFCL) which have been circulating over the summer.
In short: science, we believe, trumps sloppiness and spin.
The US banking giant JPMorgan Chase has recently announced that it has taken a 9.12% holding in the Australian mining company Danakali. On its company website Danakali describes its main focus as the Colluli Potash Project in Eritrea which it owns jointly with the Eritrean National Mining Company. JPMorgan though is no stranger to mining in Eritrea – it already has a financial interest in the Canadian mining company Nevsun Resources who have a 60% interest in the Bisha copper and zinc mine in Eritrea.