Climate change, a manmade phenomenon, is one of the greatest environmental threats of our time. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), failure to reduce ever-growing greenhouse gas emissions may result in a global temperature increase of up to 6°C by the end of this century. To prevent the worst impacts on ecosystems and society from climate change, greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced by 80% by 2050. Achieving this goal requires drastic action on each level of society.
Sadly, the world is quickly reaching a point of no return for preventing the
worst impacts of climate change. Continuing on the current course will
make it difficult, if not impossible, to prevent the widespread and
catastrophic impacts of climate change. The costs will be substantial:
billions spent to deal with the destruction of extreme weather events,
untold human suffering and the deaths of tens of millions from the
impacts by as soon as 2030.
Banks, like all companies, produce greenhouse gases (GHG) directly from their activities. Their most important contribution to GHG emission is indirect, through the financing of clients and projects that generate GHG emissions. Banks also continue to play a key role as major financiers of the coal and oil and gas industry, effectively delaying the much needed shift away from a fossil fuel-based to an efficient and renewables economy.
Bold steps to take
Banks must play their part in stopping climate change. To this end, banks should develop climate policies and practices along
the following lines:
First, Banks should take steps
to disengage from all activities and projects that substantially contribute to
climate change. They should:
End support for all new coal,
oil and gas extraction and delivery;
End support for all new coal-fired
power plants; and
End support for the most
harmful and least efficient practices in other GHG-intensive sectors, such as
agriculture, forestry and transportation.
Second, Banks should also
minimize the extent to which their remaining activities and investments
contribute to climate change. They should:
Assess and report on GHG
pollution associated with all their loans, investments, and other financial
ambitious portfolio and business-unit emissions reduction targets in line with
current science on climate stabilization; and
Develop a set of tools to
address climate issues and reduce GHG pollution across the full range of their
operations and services.
Third, Banks should increase
their support for the development and use of climate-friendly technologies and
production processes. They should:
Increase support for GHG
pollution reduction technology, renewable energy production and energy
efficiency in all business lines; and
Develop products and services
to help retail customers address climate change.
Banks should not engage in so
called ‘false solutions' to climate change, such as carbon trading and the
financing of nuclear energy, large scale hydropower, biofuel production with a
negative socio-environmental impacts, natural gas exploration and carbon
capture and storage.
Our member groups work to
pressure banks to deal with the climate catastrophe in a way that does justice to the severity of the threat.
See the links in dark red at the top of this page for different focus areas within BankTrack's Climate and Energy campaign.
Coal is a disaster for the climate, stop investments in coal fired power plants!
Netwerk Vlaandereren and environmental organisations BBL, WWF Belgium, Greenpeace Belgium, Friends of the Earth Flanders & Brussels and the workers movement KWB call for a halt to investments in coal plants.
Watch our online, interactive documentary exploring how UK banks are financing coal mining in Indonesia.
Combining photography, video, graphics and voiceover, you can navigate your own way through a range of material exploring the issue.
The documentary includes a wide range of interview clips, including indigenous people whose homelands have been destroyed by coal mining, people in the mountains of Java running their own renewable energy projects, finance experts and campaigners.
This map shows the location of coal power plant developments that are at the financing stage. BankTrack works with a network of local NGOs and campaigners on the ground to halt private banks` investments into new coal power plants.
This is a project by PLATFORM, working to reduce the environmental and social impacts of oil corporations, to help citizens gain a say in decisions that affect them, and to support the transition to a more sustainable energy economy.
Banking while Borneo burns: top five banks fuelling climate change
Oct 02, 2013 - The Global Justice Now (formerly World Development Movement) calling for UK companies to make public the carbon emissions of the fossil fuel extraction they finance, as well as having to report their direct carbon emissions. Under new rules coming into force on October 1 2013, firms must disclose information such as energy use and petrol consumption in their annual reports. But the UK's top five banks helped fossil fuel companies raise GBP170 billion between 2010 and 2012. This must be limited if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change.
Bank of America: stop funding dirty coal
Jun 27, 2012 - Bank of America can't be a green leader as long as it’s underwriting climatechange
Rio+20 : from sustainable development to green economy, what is at stake ? which alternatives ?
Jun 11, 2012 - a 16-minute video fully subtitled in English with interviews of Pablo Solon, Edagardo Lander, Yvonne Yanez, Silvia Ribeiro, Tony Clarke, Nnimmo Bassey, Anabella Rosemberg.
Mar 21, 2011 - Research group PLATFORM launches a new report 'Dirty Money - Corporate greenwash and RBS coal finance'.
RBC Awarded Most Environmentally Irresponsible Company
Jan 31, 2010 - The 2010 Public Eye Award named RBC the year's most environmentally and socially irresponsible company. RANs Brant Olson is accepting the award for RBC as the banks representatives declined to attend the ceremony.
Subprime Carbon? Michelle chan talks about carbon trading
Sep 21, 2009 - explanation about carbon trading
Lawsuit on RBS on channel 4
Jul 07, 2009 - item on channel 4 news describing lawsuit on UK government support for RBS
Wise Up Dominion
Nov 05, 2008 - RAN joins its Appalachian allies to demand a clean energy future in Wise County, Virginia.