Banks around the world are making the climate crisis worse by pumping billions into fossil fuels every year. Banks in the USA, Canada and Japan (as well as the UK) lead the pack as the worst fossil banks, with those in Germany, France and South Africa not far behind.
Sixty banks have together provided nearly $3.8 trillion since the Paris climate agreement was signed in 2015 – a shocking number. And investment is still growing, even as many leaders acknowledge the need to move away from fossil fuels and reduce emissions as soon as possible.
Banks make excuses for this reckless investment by claiming fossil fuels – particularly coal – are essential for economic development in poorer countries, or that transition takes time.
Yet a safe climate can’t afford us to dig and burn any more coal and other fossil fuels. Investing billions in long term infrastructure for fossil fuels makes the climate crisis worse, which is hitting hardest on those very same people. Pollution from pipelines, mining and power stations damages the health of countless people. Meanwhile, renewable energy is cleaner and cheaper, so banks really have no excuses for continuing to prop up fossil fuels.
Despite some small improvements, most banks still find it too hard to walk away from the short term profits involved with financing companies which are expanding their fossil fuel operations. Arctic and deep sea drilling, tar sands, fracking – nothing is too risky or polluting for these greedy banks. Instead, banks should be backing a global green recovery which supports low-carbon economies and sustainable financing.
They should be banking on our future, not on climate breakdown.
Loopholes in Deutsche Bank’s policy will allow it to continue financing big coal mining companies. The bank will also continue to finance some power companies burning coal, as well as companies involved in other parts of the coal supply chain.
The world’s biggest financier of fossil fuels by a very long way, JP Morgan Chase has pumped over $316 billion dollars into coal, oil and gas since 2016. It’s also backed the Line 3 tar sands pipeline in North America, despite explicit opposition by Indigenous nations.
The fifth biggest fossil fuel financier has funneled over $160 billion into projects and companies since 2016. RBC is also one of the biggest funders of tar sands and has no meaningful policies restricting its involvement in fossil fuels.
Standard Bank continues to finance major new fossil fuel projects in Africa, and is the largest fossil funder on the continent. The bank is acting as co-advisor for a $2.5 billion project loan for a controversial oil pipeline in Uganda and Tanzania.