Big banks have injected $ 3 trillion into fossil fuels since the Paris climate agreement – Mother Jones

JPMorgan Chase is the largest funder of oil and gas companies, according to the report.Alex Tai / ZUMA

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This story was originally posted by The Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate office collaboration.

The world’s 60 largest banks have provided $ 3.8 trillion in financing to fossil fuel companies since the Paris climate agreement in 2015, according to a report by a coalition of NGOs.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic reducing energy consumption, overall funding remains on an upward trend and funding provided in 2020 was higher than in 2016 or 2017, a fact The reportauthors and others described as “shocking”.

Oil, gas and coal will have to be burned for a few years. But we have known since at least 2015 that a a significant proportion of existing reserves must remain in the ground if global warming is to stay below 2 ° C, the main objective of Paris. Funding new reserves is therefore “the exact opposite” of what is needed to tackle the climate crisis, the report’s authors said.

U.S. and Canadian banks represent 13 of the 60 banks analyzed, but account for nearly half of global fossil fuel financing over the past five years, according to the report. JPMorgan Chase provided more funding than any other bank. British bank Barclays provided the largest fossil fuel financing of all European banks and French bank BNP Paribas was the largest in the EU.

Overall funding fell 9% in pandemic-hit 2020, but funding for the 100 fossil fuel companies with the biggest expansion plans actually rose 10%. Citi was the biggest financier of those 100 companies in 2020.

A pledge to be net zero by 2050 has been made by 17 of the 60 banks, but the report describes the pledges as “dangerously weak, half-baked or vague,” saying action is needed now. Some banks have policies that block funding for coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, but almost two-thirds of the funding goes to oil and gas companies.

The report’s authors said that targeting of banks by activists and activist shareholders could help change banking policies, but action by governments was also needed.

“When we look at the five years as a whole, the trend is still going in the wrong direction, which is obviously the exact opposite of what we need to go to to live up to the goals of the Paris Agreement,” he said. said Alison Kirsch, at Rainforest Action Network and author of the report. “None of these 60 banks have developed, without loopholes, a plan to phase out fossil fuels.”

“We’ve seen progress in restricting funding for special places like the Arctic or greenhouse gas-intensive forms of oil like the tar sands, but it’s such a small slice of the pie,” she declared.

“Bank after bank is making solemn pledges to become ‘net zero by 2050’,” said Johan Frijns of BankTrack, a member of the coalition behind the report. “But there is no path to this laudable goal that does not require dealing here and now with bank financing for the fossil fuel industry.”

“Banks provide the financial oxygen that allows the fossil fuel industry to breathe,” said Mark Campanale, of financial think tank Carbon Tracker, who was not involved in the report. “This reveals the shocking fact that loans have increased since the Paris Agreement, [which] should concern everyone, including policy makers and bank shareholders themselves.

“The cost of carbon in terms of extreme weather events, lives lost and livelihoods will be borne by society and unfortunately not by the banks, nor by the fossil fuel companies,” Campanale said. “The next time the banks look to taxpayers for a bailout, they shouldn’t be surprised to find that the backs are turned.”

The report was produced by six NGOs and is endorsed by over 300 organizations from 50 countries. He used Bloomberg data to analyze both direct bank lending to fossil fuel companies and financing from other investors that banks arrange through bond and debt sales.

“A surprising result from the 2020 data is that BNP Paribas, a bank that never loses the opportunity to boast of its clean and green credentials, and those of its US subsidiary Bank of the West, has become the fourth worst fossil bank in 2020, ”the report says, with the $ 41 billion provided by far the largest sum in the past five years.

BNP Paribas has some of the strongest policies on unconventional oil and gas, such as fracking and oil sands, Kirsch said: “But it’s a relatively small part of their overall funding and the bank doesn’t has not limited its funding to oil and gas. supermajors, who get really big deals.

A spokesperson for BNP Paribas said the report ranked the bank second for the strength of its restrictions on funding for coal, fracking and oil sands. “During the Covid-19 crisis, all sectors of the economy needed support and BNP Paribas, like other banks, played an important stabilizing role for the economy. However, BNP Paribas has supported the oil and gas sector to a lesser extent than other business sectors. “

JPMorgan Chase launched a “Financing strategy aligned with Paris»In October, committing to set intermediate emissions targets for 2030 for its financing portfolio. He declined to comment on the report. Barclays and Citi did not respond to requests for comment.

A separate report last Thursday from the International Energy Agency and Imperial College London found that investments in renewable energies achieved a higher return of 367% than fossil fuels since 2010.

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