Bankrolling Climate Change

NGOs present groundbreaking research on banks’ involvement in coal financing
Main
Banks
Durban, Nov 30 2011 | urgewald, Earthlife, BankTrack and groundWork

Today, the German environment organisation urgewald, the South African social and environmental justice organisations groundWork and Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and the international network BankTrack will present new research on the portfolios of the world's leading banks. The study "Bankrolling Climate Change" examines commercial banks' lending for the coal industry and provides the first comprehensive climate ranking for financial institutions.

"We chose to look into coal financing as coal-fired power plants are the biggest source of man-made CO2 emissions and the major culprit in the drama of climate change," explains Heffa Schuecking of urgewald. "In spite of the fact that climate change is already having severe impacts on the most vulnerable societies, there is an abundance of plans to build new coal-fired power plants. If banks provide money for these projects, they will wreck all attempts to limit global warming to 2° Celsius," says Schuecking.

The organisations examined the portfolios of 93 of the world's leading banks and looked into their support for 31 major coal-mining companies (representing 44% of global coal production) and 40 producers of coal-fired electricity (which together own over 50% of global coal-fired generation capacity). The total value of coal financing provided by these banks since 2005 (the year the Kyoto Protocol came into force) amounts to 232 billion Euro.

The study identifies the top twenty "climate killers" in the banking world. Among the top twenty are banks from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Switzerland, China, Italy and Japan. The top three banks fuelling climate change worldwide are JP Morgan Chase (EUR 16,5 bio.), Citi (EUR 13,7 bio.) and Bank of America (EUR 12,6 bio.).

Coal-fired power plants are not cheap to build. Typically, a 600 Megawatt plant will cost around US$ 2 billion. Power producers therefore rely heavily on banks to provide and mobilize the necessary capital for coal plants. "Our figures clearly show that coal financing is on the rise," notes Tristen Taylor of Earthlife Africa Johannesburg. "Between 2005 and 2010, coal financing almost doubled. If we don't take Banks to task now, coal financing will continue to grow," he warns.

The study looks into the statements of the top climate killer banks and also examines their existing climate policies. "Interestingly, almost all of the top twenty climate killer banks in our ranking have made far-reaching statements regarding their commitment to combating climate change," explains Yann Louvel of BankTrack. "However, the numbers show that their money is not where their mouth is." He also notes that the policies many banks have adopted and the voluntary initiatives they have signed on to like the  "Carbon Principles" or the "Climate Principles" have failed to make any difference in banks' portfolios.

"Our study names and shames the banks that are destabilising our climate system," says Bobby Peek from groundWork. "Plans for new coal fired power plants and coal mines are meeting with fierce resistance all over the world and we are going to begin turning that heat on the banks", explains Peek. The study calls on banks to become responsible climate actors and to quit coal. According to the NGOs, banks need to shift their portfolios to renewables and energy efficiency and set and implement ambitious CO2 reduction goals for their financed emissions.

The table shows the top twenty financiers of the coal industry since 2005.

The Top Twenty Climate Killer Banks

Bank

in million Euro

Ranking

JPMorgan Chase

16,540

1

Citi

13,751

2

Bank of America

12,590

3

Morgan Stanley

12,117

4

Barclays

11,514

5

Deutsche Bank

11,477

6

Royal Bank of Scotland

10,946

7

BNP Paribas

10,694

8

Credit Suisse

  9,495

9

UBS

  8,217

10

Goldman Sachs

  6,770

11

Bank of China

  6,323

12

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

  6,182

13

Crédit Agricole / Calyon

  5,637

14

UniCredit / HVB

  5,231

15

China Construction Bank

  5,110

16

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group

  4,980

17

Société Générale

  4,742

18

Wells Fargo

  4,523

19

HSBC

  4,432

20

Data provided by Profundo

The study will be presented at a side event during COP17 in Durban at 11:30 a.m. on November 30th in the Hex River room. A full copy of the study with a ranking of all the researched banks can be downloaded here. The underlying data for this research were provided by Profundo economic research. They can be found here.

contact

For further information or interviews, contact:

Heffa Schücking, heffa@urgewald.de, Tel: (49)-160-96761436

Yann Louvel, yann@banktrack.org, Tel: (33)-688-907868

Bobby Peek, bobby@groundwork.org.za, Tel: (27)-82-4641383

Tristen Taylor, tristen@earthlife.org.za, Tel: (27)-84-2502434

urgewald Website

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 UFJ
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
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 one of China's Big Four joint-stock commercial banks.  As of March 2009, CCB was the second biggest bank in the world, operating a network…
Citi
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 was founded in 1856 and is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. It serves companies, institutional clients and high-net-worth private clients worldwide, as…
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…
HSBC
Headquartered in London, HSBC is one of the largest banking and financial services organisations in the world. HSBC operates from around 9,500 offices in 86 countries and…
ICBC
ICBC is a joint-stock commercial bank based in the People's Republic of China.  Founded in 1984, ICBC was the world's biggest bank as of March 2009.  ICBC has expanded…
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, Merril Lynch, JPMorgan Chase). The corporation, founded by Henry S.…
RBS
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,…
Société Générale
Société Générale ("SocGen") is one of the oldest banks in France, dating back to 1864. The original name was Société…
UBS
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…
UniCredit
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 oktober 2008 Wells Fargo acquired the troubled bank Wachovia, at that moment the sixth…
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banktrack tweets
Interesting UBS piece @john_vidal - We have forthcoming data showing UBS still deep into coal finance. #BIGchallenge http://t.co/muBO5kntUf
Aug 28, 2014
UBS urges financial clients to join the solar revolution” - http://t.co/yHVvqdO7vt - while still bankrolling coal of course.
Aug 28, 2014
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