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'Record year' for bank coal financing as latest UN climate warning looms

By BankTrack | Nijmegen, Oct 29 2014

Ninety-two leading banks last year provided at least EUR 66 billion in financing to the coal industry, according to new coal financing data released today in BankTrack's ‘Banking on coal 2014' report. [1] This, believes the global campaigning network, represents a highly regrettable ‘record year' for financial support extended to the top 65 coal companies in both the coal mining and power sectors.

Released just days ahead of the publication of the fifth United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment report, the EUR 66 billion figure represents a more than fourfold rise in climate-busting coal financing when compared to 2005, according to BankTrack's research.

Analysing what is now one of the primary forms of life support for a global coal industry in crisis, the new report also reveals that leading banks have provided 373 billion euros (500 billion dollars) in financing for the coal industry between 2005 and April 2014. The top 20 financiers, including JPMorgan Chase, Citi and RBS in the top three, have alone provided 73% of this amount. [2]

The new BankTrack research accompanies the launch of the ‘Banks: Quit Coal' campaign that aims to pressure commercial banks to cut their ties with the coal industry and instead divert capital to clean energy and energy efficiency. A new ‘Coal banks' website, also launched today, provides extensive data about the banking industry's ongoing deep links with the coal industry, and gives people around the world an opportunity to directly encourage banks to finally end their coal financing. [3]

Yann Louvel, BankTrack's Climate and Energy Campaign coordinator, said:

"The new BankTrack data issues a timely warning to the public and global decision-makers alike that rising coal financing, via banking giants like JPMorgan Chase, Citi and RBS as well as an increasing number of Chinese banks, continues to provide a vital lifeline to the increasingly beleaguered coal industry, while at the same time placing the planet in climate jeopardy.

"This is the most extensive data ever compiled on commercial bank financing of both coal mining and coal power, and even though we're probably only covering little more than half of the global banking sector's true financial support for the sector, the conclusion is stark: the lending figures have been rising steadily since 2005, and last year was a record year."

Alex Scrivener, policy officer at the World Development Movement, said:

"At precisely the time we need to be rapidly pulling back from coal in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, banks all over the world are fuelling a whole new round of more coal mines and more coal-fired power plants. Any notion of ‘ethical banking' is incompatible with financing an energy source like coal. It's not only a disaster for the climate, it's also responsible for all manner of injustice inflicted on communities in the global south who have been devastated by the impacts of coal mining."

Lucie Pinson, private finance campaigner for Les Amis de la Terre/Friends of the Earth France, added:

"These new ‘coal bank' findings will also help galvanise the growing public enthusiasm for divesting from coal and other fossil fuels by exposing the huge disconnect between banks' hype about their clean energy investments and aspirations, and their huge, still growing and much less talked-about support for dirty coal.

"It's all well and good to be trumpeting the odd wind and solar investment here and there, as the banks do every year in their sustainability reports. But our new data shows how wedded the majority of the banking sector still is to polluting, climate-changing and outmoded coal - the very stuff that they refuse to publicise." [4]

Heffa Schücking, director of German environment group and BankTrack member urgewald, commented:

"The evidence presented in the new BankTrack report is shocking when you consider not only that the IPCC is just about to publish its most robust scientific findings yet about the extent of man-made climate change and the widespread damaging impacts being visited on human and natural systems alike. But also that many of the biggest public banks, including the World Bank, have taken the welcome first step of largely pulling out of financing for new coal power projects. The onus is now very much on the private banks to follow suit, and quit coal for good."

Notes for editors:

1. The ‘Banking on coal 2014' report is available to download on this page.

2. See below the list of the Top 20 coal banks

3. The new ‘Coal banks' data and campaign website resource is live at:

4. From ‘Banking on coal 2014' - how ‘coal bank' financing compares with bank ‘green' talk:

BankTrack's number 1 ‘coal bank' JPMorgan Chase claims it is: "Transitioning to a low carbon economy."

The number 2 ‘coal bank' Citi insists that: "We have made tremendous progress in reducing our environmental footprint."

The number 3 ‘coal bank' RBS believes it is: "Delivering a low carbon economy."

The number 5 ‘coal bank' China Construction Bank is confident it is: "A low-carbon, environmentally friendly bank."

The number 6 ‘coal bank' Bank of America acknowledges the climate change reality and its own responsibilities: "We agree that climate change is happening, society needs to transition from high-carbon to low-carbon energy, and the bank has a responsibility to accelerate this transition."



Yann Louvel, Climate and Energy Campaign Coordinator, BankTrack
Tel: +33 688-907-868


Bank of America
Bank of America is an American multinational banking and financial services corporation and is the second largest bank holding company in the United States by assets, and…
Bank of China
Bank of China is one of China's Big Four joint-stock commercial banks. Bank of China offers commercial banking, investment banking, insurance, asset management, aircraft…
Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFG
Bank of Tokyo - Mitsubishi UFJ is the largest bank in Japan. It was established on January 1, 2006, with the merger of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Ltd. and UFJ Bank Ltd.…
Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in retail and commercial banking, credit cards, investment banking, wealth management and investment management…
BNP Paribas
BNP Paribas is one of the main banks in Europe. It was created on 23 May 2000 through the merger of Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) and Paribas.…
China Construction Bank
China Construction Bank (CCB) is a leading commercial bank in China providing a comprehensive range of commercial banking products and services. CCB's business consists of…
Citigroup Inc., doing business as Citi, is a major American financial services company based in New York, NY. Citigroup was formed from a merger between Citicorp and financial…
Crédit Agricole
The Crédit Agricole Group is a unified but decentralised group consisting of 39 Regional Banks, Crédit Agricole S.A. and many subsidiaries. It includes Crédit…
Credit Suisse
Credit Suisse Group was founded in 1856 and is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. It serves companies, institutional clients and high-net-worth private clients worldwide,…
Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank was founded in 1870 and is a leading global investment bank. It has operations throughout the world and has a strong presence in Germany and Europe. The bank´s…
Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) was founded in 1869 and is a leading global financial services firm that is headquartered in New York. It provides an array of financing…
Headquartered in London, HSBC is one of the largest banking and financial services organisations in the world. HSBC operates from around 6,100 offices in 72 countries and…
ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China) is a joint-stock commercial bank based in the People's Republic of China.  Founded in 1984, ICBC overtook Citi to become…
JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase is one of the Big Four Banks of the United States (along with Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo). The firm was formed in…
Morgan Stanley
Morgan Stanley was one of the four investment banks that for decades ruled on Wall Street (with Lehman Brothers, Merril Lynch and JPMorgan Chase). The corporation, founded…
RBS was founded in 1727 and is one of the major UK banks. RBS has 40 million customers using the financial services of over 30 brands, including NatWest, Direct Line, Churchill,…
Modern UBS was formed through a merger of the Union Bank of Switzerland and the Swiss Bank Corporation in June 1998.  UBS is headquartered in Zurich and Basel and it…
The UniCredit Group is the result of the merger of nine of Italy's largest banks and the subsequent combination with the German HVB Group and the Italian Capitalia Group.…
Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo is one of the big banks in the United States, located in San Fransisco. In october 2008, Wells Fargo acquired the troubled bank Wachovia, at that moment the sixth…

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