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.
Campaigners celebrated a momentous announcement yesterday, when RBS revealed that it has ditched a whopping 70% of its fossil fuel investments in the last year alone, whilst doubling funding for renewable energy, to £1 billion. RBS claims that this makes it ‘the largest lender to the UK renewable energy sector’.
This is quite some turnaround from the bank formerly known as ‘the oil and gas bank’, which was found to be the fourth most invested UK bank in fossil fuels in our Divest! campaign, with £14.4 billion in fossil fuel extraction in 2012 alone. For many campaigners who have worked tirelessly to get RBS out of fossil fuels, such as Global Justice Now, Friends of the Earth Scotland, the Robin Hood Tax, People & Planet, Fossil Free UK, Platform and so many others, this was a moment to celebrate.
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.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) has just launched its 5th assessment report on climate change mitigation in Berlin, the most comprehensive assessment of potential solutions to the climate crisis yet seen. It clearly shows that we can stop the worst of climate change by transforming our energy systems, and that for this we must shift the patterns of investments in the energy sector now.
Yann Louvel, BankTrack, 28 January 2014
Earlier this month, Bank of America participated in the 2014 Investor Summit on Climate Risk, as the “convening sponsor” of the event. While there was a lot of talk about the urgency of the problem of tackling climate change, there were a few things the bank didn’t talk about. For starters, their role in financing the coal industry.
By Yann Louvel, on Apr 8, 2013. Climate and Energy Campaign Coordinator for the BankTrack network.
Last week, Bloomberg published the results of its third annual ranking of the “world’s greenest banks”: Citi was ranked first, followed by Santander and JPMorgan. The study assesses banks based on their lending to clean-energy projects and reduction in their own power consumption and carbon footprints. However, banks’ support for dirty energy, such as fossil fuel and nuclear power, is notably absent from Bloomberg’s methodology. When the value of banks’ finance for fossil fuels so often dwarves their investments in renewables, Bloomberg’s data does not even tell half of the story.