Climate Change: Big Banks Promising Net Zero Are Pouring Money Into Dirtiest Fossil Fuel


Reducing coal use is a key part of global efforts to reduce global warming greenhouse gases and bring emissions to “net zero” by mid-century, and governments, businesses and financial institutions around the world have pledged to take action.

But banks continue to finance 1,032 companies involved in coal mining, trading, transportation and use, according to the study.

“Banks like to say they want to help their coal customers make the transition, but the reality is that almost none of these companies are making the transition,” said Katrin Ganswind, head of financial research at the within the German environmental group Urgewald, which led the research. “And they have little incentive to do so as long as the bankers keep writing them blank checks.”

The study says banks in six countries – China, the United States, Japan, India, Britain and Canada – were responsible for 86% of global coal financing during the period.

Direct lending amounted to $373 billion, with Japanese banks Mizuho Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial – both members of the Net Zero Banking Alliance – identified as the two largest lenders. Neither company immediately responded to requests for comment.

Another $1.2 trillion was funneled to coal companies through underwriting. All of the top 10 underwriters were Chinese, with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) in first place, accounting for $57 billion. He did not respond to a request for comment.

Institutional investments in coal companies during the period amounted to $469 billion, with BlackRock topping the list with $34 billion. The US asset manager declined to comment on Tuesday, but chief executive Larry Fink wrote in January that “divesting entire sectors…will not bring the world back to net zero.”

“Foresighted companies across a wide range of carbon-intensive sectors are transforming their businesses, and their actions are a critical part of decarbonization,” he wrote in a letter to fellow CEOs.

Comparative coal finance figures for previous years were not immediately available. Other research studies, however, have shown that investment in coal is on the decline.

The coal sector is responsible for nearly half of global greenhouse gas emissions. More than 40 countries pledged to end the use of coal following climate talks in Glasgow in November, although major consumers such as China, India and the United States did not agree. not registered. Read the full story

But more coal-fired power capacity invested by China overseas has been canceled than commissioned since 2017, according to a study by the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) last June. Read the full story

In addition, almost all development funding available internationally is now committed to reducing or ending investment in coal-fired power plants after China and the G20 decided to stop supporting new projects overseas. showed in November research from the Global Development Policy Center at Boston University.


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