Sep 082016
 
By Lucie Pinson, Friends of the Earth France, and Yann Louvel, BankTrack, 8 September 2016

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. Continue reading »

Jun 172016
 
By Greig Aitken, BankTrack, 16 June 2016

Published earlier this week by BankTrack, Rainforest Action Network, the Sierra Club and Oil Change International, the Fossil Fuel Finance Report Card 2016 – entitled ‘Shorting the Climate’ – has already been making waves. Thanks to Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben and many others for pushing #shortingtheclimate out there on social media: it’s vital that the call goes out widely to the global banking sector urging an end to its multi-billion dollar support for fossil fuels. Continue reading »

Mar 242016
 
By Oleg Savitsky, National Ecological Center of Ukraine, 24 March 2016

On March 18 DTEK, the Ukrainian power giant and the country’s biggest coal company, announced its financial results for 2015, and they painted a very bleak picture. The company’s net electricity output dropped 20%, electricity exports were down by 55%, and its debt was confirmed as having reached USD 2.2 billion.

Just the week before, on March 10, Fitch Ratings downgraded DTEK’s credit rating from ‘C’ to ‘RD’ – restricted default, which is Fitch’s final rating before bankruptcy when a company has defaulted on a bond, loan or another financial obligation. Half of DTEKs excessive and decrepit coal-fired power plants are now standing idle and turning into scrap metal. Continue reading »

Feb 252016
 

By Kuba Gogolewski, Development YES Open-Pit Mines NO, 25th February 2016.

In spite of the Paris Agreement and the European Union’s 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, Polish state-owned and private companies are pushing on with plans to develop a string of new open-pit lignite mines.

And while local communities on the front line of these potentially destructive projects continue to resist them, many well-known banking names – including some which have recently made encouraging, if belated, moves towards the coal finance exit doors – remain anchored in the Polish coal sector, and appear more than willing to prop up an industry which now appears to be on its last legs. Continue reading »

Feb 022016
 

 Bangladesh’s Rampal moves forward, as bank interest in the Dominican Republic’s Punta Catalina plant and Indonesia’s Tanjong Jati B raises concerns over the strength of their climate commitments

By Greig Aitken and Yann Louvel, BankTrack, 4 February 2016

As we’ve been settling into the new year and wondering how visible and – crucially – rapid any genuine follow through from the words of the Paris climate summit would be, there’s been a nagging concern at the back of our minds: in what’s supposed to be these new, ambitious ‘1.5 degree Celsius limit’ times, what’s going to be the first major new coal installation investment of 2016, and who’s going to be bankrolling it?

Continue reading »

Dec 222015
 
By Oleg Savitsky (NECU) and Greig Aitken (BankTrack), 22 December 2015

Almost two months ago, NECU and BankTrack issued an Investor Alert describing the circumstances which had forced Ukraine’s biggest coal company, DTEK, to seek a debt restructuring agreement with a host of European banks, including Dutch ING, Italy’s UniCredit and Austria’s Erste Bank. The troubled coal giant has been seeking a delay in the payment of most of its $3 billion debt. Continue reading »

Dec 122015
 
By Yann Louvel, BankTrack, 12 December 2015

Earlier this week I was able to participate and ask a question at one of the many Paris COP21 side events: the launch of the ‘Five Voluntary Principles for Mainstreaming Climate Action within Financial Institutions’, convened by a group of public ‘development’ banks including the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The new principles so far have 26 banks from the public and private sectors on board, and appear set to be touted for further signatories in the coming months.

These are the latest in a series of voluntary principles on climate by global banks which have gone nowhere over the past decade – see the Carbon Principles and Climate Principles, launched in 2008, which subsequently disappeared without a trace. My general impression is that these principles won’t go far either. They appear, though, to have served another purpose for the financial sector, providing PR greenwashing at the most important climate gathering of the decade. Continue reading »

Oct 022015
 
By Greig Aitken, BankTrack, 2 October 2015

With just two months to go now before the United Nations climate summit in Paris, the warnings about the consequences of climate inaction are coming thick and fast.

Stepping up this week has been Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, with tough talk on how climate change will lead to financial crises and falling living standards – that is unless the world’s leading countries do more to ensure that their companies come clean about their current and future carbon emissions.”

What almost every major country has been doing in the run-up to Paris is submitting their pledges to reduce carbon emissions, the so-called ‘intended nationally determined contributions’. As the Climate Progress website has reported this week, the pledged CO2 reductions – including from the US, the European Union and China – have delivered something on paper at least. Growing realism, however, about where even a ‘successful’ Paris agreement will likely leave us is summed up thus by Climate Progress:

Continue reading »

Sep 092015
 
By Yann Louvel and Greig Aitken, BankTrack, 9 September 2015

We’ve just published the latest additions to our series of coal bank briefings, and it’s a triple whammy of information assessing the coal finance and associated policies of the UK’s three biggest banks: Barclays, HSBC and RBS.

The three also happen to be the UK’s top three coal banks, having coughed up a combined total of more than £30 billion for the most climate-damaging fossil fuel sector between 2005 and April 2014. The new briefings focus on each bank’s policy approach to coal mining and coal power finance, and describe a variety of legacy investments to the coal industry that are still looming large with damaging impacts for the environment, the climate and local communities. Continue reading »

Jun 122015
 
By Pippa Gallop (Bankwatch) and Yann Louvel (BankTrack), 12 June 2015
This blog post is published jointly with Bankwatch.

Slovenia’s newly built Sostanj 6 power plant is expected to generate losses of around EUR 200 million over the next 3-4 years. This was the view put forward at a recent panel discussion in Zagreb by Blaz Kosorok, General Director of Holding Slovenske Elektrarne (HSE), Slovenia’s state-owned power generation company and the country’s largest company.

Given that Croatia’s Plomin C project shares some of Sostanj 6’s features – failure to really consider alternatives, a lack of transparency about costs, and failure to properly include the public in decision-making – could Croatia be about to repeat its neighbour’s mistakes? And how is the only major international financier involved in Plomin C to date – Crédit Agricole – viewing its own future in another looming Balkan coal power debacle? Continue reading »