Energy & Environment

60 largest banks in the world invested $3.8 trillion in fossil fuels: report

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The world’s 60 biggest banks have financed the fossil fuel industry to the tune of nearly $4 trillion in the five years since the Paris climate agreement, according to a report released Wednesday a coalition of environmental organizations.

The 60 banks in question have put more than $3.8 trillion into the industry in the last five years, according to the report. Despite the economic recession induced by the coronavirus pandemic, more money went into the industry in 2020 than in 2016, according to the Indigenous Environmental Network, Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, Oil Change International, Reclaim Finance and Sierra Club.

The report’s authors said the findings indicate that practices like carbon offsets are not sustainable to prevent irreversible climate change.

“Ill conceived carbon offset schemes and market-based mechanisms are ‘oil business as usual’ and not real emissions reductions,” Alberto Salamando, the Indigenous Environmental Network’s counsel on climate change and Indigenous and human rights, said in a statement. “Banks must not continue to be complicit in the greater suffering of humanity and bring life as we know it closer to its destruction. Humanity itself is a threatened species.”

The report states that JPMorgan Chase invested the most in fossil fuels during the period in question, with $317 billion in funding since the Paris Agreement. It was followed by Citi, with $237 billion. Of the 60 banks, eight were American and 15 Canadian, but these 13 comprised nearly half of global fossil fuel financing. Another 24 were European, 14 were Chinese and Indian, five were Japanese and Korean and four were Australian.

North American banks’ overall financing saw a steep drop in fossil fuel financing in 2020 after remaining largely level the preceding four years, according to the report. However, the report stated, “[T]hese banks still lack substantive policies to restrict and phase out support for coal, oil, and gas, and therefore have much work to do to lock in the steep downward trend necessary for Paris-alignment.”

The Hill has reached out to JPMorgan Chase and Citi for comment.

Tags Climate change Fossil fuel

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