Barclays provided fossil fuel companies almost £91 billion between the end of 2015, when the Paris Climate Agreement was signed, and 2019. This makes them the 7th worst fossil bank in the world and the worst in Europe.
HSBC ranks as the 12th worst bank globally, with £67 billion of support for fossil fuels. It continues to pursue financing new coal power plants in South East Asia, despite projections that 70,000 people could die ever year due to coal pollution there.
The financial impact of the Covid-19 crisis, on top of a crash in oil prices, has shown us ever more clearly that economies based on fossil fuels are vulnerable in an emergency. We have to respond to the immediate health and economic crisis, but must also take this moment to build the resilience we need to handle other crises in the future.
Despite the urgent need to move away from fragile, fossil fuel-based economies, drilling for oil in the arctic and in deep water, extracting oil from tar sands, and fracking shale rock for gas continues to cause damage to lives, livelihoods and habitats.
These expensive extraction projects can’t go ahead without outside financing, and thirty-five global banks have proven to be willing partners, having together invested £2 trillion in the fossil fuel industry’s continued growth since 2016. Without these funds, the climate destroying activities of corporations like BP and Shell are not possible.
The plans laid out by governments and companies would lead to a 4°C increase in global temperatures, leading to droughts, flooding, food and water shortages and mass migration. Companies won’t stop digging and burning fossil fuels on their own, so in order to protect a habitable planet and organised society we must cut off the finance they need to grow these projects.
Banks are supporting the extraction and burning of coal, oil and gas, in ways that exploit local communities and resource-rich environments across the world, making our global society even more unequal.
British banks are still supporting companies involved in the building of new dirty coal projects worldwide, including new coal plants in Indonesia, Vietnam and Bangladesh led by corporations guilty of human rights abuses. They are seemingly indifferent that their business decisions could consign billions of people to hunger, disease, poverty and war resulting from the worst impacts of unchecked climate change.
The banks are behaving like fossil fuel companies, pushing for ever more profit from coal, oil and gas, despite calls to transition away from dirty energy. The UK banks Barclays and HSBC are some of the worst offenders in Europe.
Barclays and HSBC are the worst fossil banks in Europe
Why are British Banks funding an uninhabitable world?