Sep 072016
 
By BankTrack, 7 September 2016

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. Continue reading »

Jun 202016
 
By Yann Louvel and Greig Aitken, BankTrack, 20 June 2016

The dust has now settled on this year’s bank AGM season in Europe. However, with new, progressive coal financing policy announcements thin on the ground, it’s been more a case of the dust gathering on the coal finance toolkits of most of Europe’s big banking names. And this in spite of the usual concerted advocacy from coal campaigners and the growing urgency for the banks to quit coal.

BankTrack issued five new coal banks briefings for the 2016 AGM season, analysing the advances which took place last year in the coal policies of banks such as Crédit Agricole and Royal Bank of Scotland, and pointing out some of the loopholes which remain with the potential to leave a host of climate destructive investments firmly on the banks’ radar. 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 182016
 
By Catalina von Hildebrand, BankTrack, 18th March 2016

Last weekend, over a thousand Bangladeshis and Indians gathered in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to take part in a four day, 250 kilometre ‘Long March’ to voice a clear message: Save the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest.

The Bangladeshi and Indian governments are currently intent on building a coal-fired power plant in the Rampal region 14 kilometres northwest of the Sundarbans, widely known as ‘the lungs of Bangladesh’, and only four kilometres from the designated ecological boundary of the sprawling forest, a World Heritage site and a Ramsar protected wetland. 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 »

Jun 032015
 
By Yann Louvel and Greig Aitken, BankTrack, 3 June 2015

It must have been a bewildering scene at the Paris headquarters of Crédit Agricole last Wednesday when the news came through that rival bank BNP Paribas would be joining other French multinationals such as EDF, Engie, Renault Nissan and Air France as official sponsors of the United Nations Climate Summit (COP21) to be held in the French capital at the end of the year. Continue reading »

Apr 242015
 
By Yann Louvel and Greig Aitken, BankTrack, 24 April 2015

Today’s HSBC annual shareholders’ meeting in London has been dominated by the bank’s cutely timed announcement that it is considering whether or not to move its headquarters out of the UK. Here at BankTrack, and in light of other less high profile HSBC announcements of late, we’ve been wondering when the bank might see fit to announce an imminent departure from its substantial global coal finance investments – by our conservative estimates, HSBC provided just short of €8bn support to the coal sector in lending and underwriting over the period 2005-April 2014. Continue reading »

Mar 192015
 
By Yann Louvel, Climate and energy campaign coordinator, BankTrack, 19 March 2015

News this week that the Norwegian Global Pension Fund (GPF), the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund and one of the largest investors in the coal industry, divested from over 50 coal companies in 2014 has come with some unfortunate caveats attached.

While GPF’s ditching of a number of major companies involved in devastating mining practices – in particular the mountain-top removal exponents Arch Coal and Alpha Natural Resources – and notorious giants such as Coal India are very welcome and timely steps, these coal divestment advances were immediately compromised by the fund revealing the state of play with its other fossil fuel interests: in 2014 it increased its stake in major oil and gas companies to £20 billion. Continue reading »

Feb 132015
 
By Yann Louvel and Greig Aitken, BankTrack, 13 February 2015. 

Global Divestment Day kicks off today, and is set to feature over 400 actions across six continents on Friday and Saturday. Just a week ago, activists received a notable boost: the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, Norway’s Government Pension Global Fund (GPGF), disclosed that in 2014 it had divested from 32 coal companies. Continue reading »

Feb 132015
 

By Oleg Savistky, National Ecological Center of Ukraine and CEE BankWatch Network, 13 February 2015.

In a street action being held today in Kiev as part of the Global Divestment Day, Ukrainians call on public and private investors to end financing for fossil fuels, in particular coal, and instead invest in renewable energy sources which represent the only independent source for the country.

European commercial banks (such as Deutsche Bank, Uni Credit Bank, ING Bank, Raiffeisen Zentral Bank, Erste Group Bank, RBS and Barclays) are major investors in the coal industry in Ukraine, most notably in the integrated coal and energy company DTEK (see its entry on coalbanks.org).

Continue reading »