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Introduction: Banks and climate change

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 services;
  • Establish sufficiently 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.

Further information

For any questions or information on BankTrack climate and energy campaign, please contact Yann Louvel, BankTrack Climate and Energy Campaign Coordinator.

ABN AMRO
ABN AMRO Bank N.V. is a Dutch state-owned bank with headquarters in Amsterdam. It was re-established, in its current form, in 2009 following the acquisition and break up…
ANZ
The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited commonly called ANZ, is the fourth largest bank in Australia, after the Commonwealth Bank,…
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…
BBVA
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), is a multinational Spanish banking group. It was formed in 1999 from a merger of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya and Argentaria. BBVA is the…
Belfius
At the end of 2011 the former Dexia Group (France/Belgium/Luxembourg) went through a major restructuring. The state of Belgium became the owner of the Dexia Bank Belgium.…
BMO Financial Group
Bank of Montreal (BMO) is the fourth largest Bank in Canada by deposits. The bank was founded in 1817 in Montreal, making it Canada's oldest existing bank. Next to operations…
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.…
CIBC
The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) formed after the largest merger of two chartered banks in Canadian history on June 1, 1961. CIBC states it is committed to being…
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…
Commerzbank
Commerzbank AG is Germany's second largest bank, headquartered in Frankfurt am Main. Next to a large presence in the German banking market, Commerzbank has numerous branch…
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…
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…
ING
ING (an abbreviation of Internationale Nederlanden Groep) is a Netherlands based international financial services company and one of the world’s largest savings banks.…
Intesa Sanpaolo
Intesa Sanpaolo is a banking group resulting from the merger at January 1, 2007 between Banca Intesa and Sanpaolo IMI. It has a strong international presence focused on Central-Eastern…
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…
KBC
KBC, established in 1998 from a merger between two Belgian banks (the Kredietbank and CERA Bank) and the Belgian insurance company ABB, is an integrated bancassurance group,…
Lloyds Banking Group Plc
Lloyds Banking Group Plc was formed on the 19th of January 2009 after Lloyds TSB acquired HBOS. The group is currently the largest retail bank in the United Kingdom with…
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.…
Natixis
Natixis is a French corporate and investment bank created in 2006 from the merger of the asset management and investment banking operations of Natexis Banque Populaire…
Rabobank
Rabobank Group is a full-range financial services provider based in the Netherlands. It is founded on cooperative principles and as such owned by its members. The bank offers…
RBC
The Royal Bank of Canada (in French, Banque Royale du Canada, and commonly RBC in either language) is the largest financial institution in…
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,…
Santander
Grupo Santander is a banking group centered on BancoSantander, the largest bank in the euro area, which originated in Santander,Cantabria, Spain. Santander focuses activities…
Scotiabank
The Bank of Nova Scotia (commonly called Scotiabank in English and Banque Scotia in French) is the third largest bank in Canada by…
Société Générale
Société Générale ("SocGen") is one of the oldest banks in France, dating back to 1864. The original name was Société…
Standard Bank
Standard Bank is a South African-based financial services group with a global presence focused on emerging markets. It operates in 30 countries around the world, including…
Standard Chartered
Despite its British base, Standard Chartered has few customers in the United Kingdom and 90% of its profits come from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Its operations lie…
TD Bank Financial Group
The Toronto-Dominion Bank (in French, Banque Toronto-Dominion, and commonly TD in either language) is the second largest bank in Canada by market capitalization…
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…
Westpac
Westpac is an Australian bank with a strategic focus on Australia, New Zealand and the near Pacific. The Westpac Group provides a broad range of banking and financial services,…
Alpha Coal project
Australia
The Alpha Coal project is a A$6.4 billion coal mine and export project that is proposed to be constructed in Queensland, Australia. The black thermal coal mine and associated…
Canadian tar sands
Canada
In the Canadian Boreal forest just downstream of the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains are the Canadian tar sands. The region contains some 2 trillion barrels of oil,…
Carmichael coal mine project
Australia
Carmichael - located in Queensland's unexploited Galilee Basin and proposed by Indian conglomerate Adani - would take the crown of Australia's biggest and baddest coal mine…
Congo tar sands
Congo
Oil sands are a mixture of bitumen and sand. Oil sands production is a carbon-intensive process because it is a hugely inefficient way of extracting and refining the oil.…
Czeczott coal power plant
Poland
The planned Czeczott coal power plant in Poland is a 900-1000MW hard-coal-fired power project located in the Wola village in Silesia (Slaskie Voivodship), on the area of…
Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines
Canada
The Enbridge Pipelines involve two pipelines from Bruderheim Alberta (near Edmonton), to a new marine terminal in Kitimat, British Columbia. The East pipeline is to import…
Kashagan oil project
Kazakhstan
An offshore oil project in the north Caspian Sea, Kashagan is part of the North Caspian Sea Production Sharing Agreement (PSA), a 40-year contract that was signed in 1997…
Keystone XL pipeline
United States
TransCanada is proposing a 36-inch, 1,700 mile pipeline, that would carry 900,000 barrels of Tar Sands oil from Hardisy, Alberta to Port Arthur, Texas. The pipeline system,…
Kosovo C coal power plant
Kosovo
Kosovo's power sector is currently made up of two power plants, Kosovo A and Kosovo B, located near the capital of Pristina. The government of Kosovo supports plans to reform…
Kusile coal power plant
South Africa
The Kusile coal fired power plant project is located in the province of Mpumalanga, in South Africa. With 4800MW, it will be one of the largest power plants of its kind in…
Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) project
Papua New Guinea
Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) is natural gas that has been chilled to liquid form, reducing it to one-six-hundredth of its original volume for transportation by ship to destinations…
Madagascar tar sands
Madagascar
Located in the western Melaky region of Mahajanga pronvince are the two most developed tar sands projects of Madagascar, named Bemolanga and Tsimiroro. The size of both fields…
Medupi coal power plant
South Africa
The Medupi Power Station is a coal-fired power plant currently under construction in Lephalale, South Africa. The project comprises six 800 megawatt (MW) units to be provide…
Mountain top removal coal mining
United States
Mountain top removal (MTR) mining is a form of strip mining in which coal companies use explosives to blast as much as 800 to 1000 feet off the tops of mountains order to…
Phulbari coal mine
Bangladesh
The Phulbari coal project is a proposed open pit coal mine in northwest Bangladesh and includes the construction of at least one 500-MW power plant. At full production about…
Plomin C coal power plant
Croatia
Croatian electricity company HEP is planning to find foreign investors to construct a 500 MW third unit at the Plomin coal power plant on the Croatian coast in Istria County.…
Pólnoc coal power plant
Poland
The planned plant is a 2000MW coal-fired greenfield project located in the direct vicinity of the Nature 2000 site (Lower Vistula Valley). Impeded from securing free CO2…
Rio Madeira dam
Brazil
Located in the state of Rondônia - Brazil, the Madeira River is the principal tributary of the Amazon River, with its basin covering about one-quarter of the Brazilian…
Rybnik coal power plant
Poland
A new 910 MWe (electrical megawatt) unit is planned for the hard coal-fired Rybnik power station, located on the outskirts of the city of Rybnik in Silesia Voivodship, to…
Sakhalin II oil and gas project
Russian Federation
The Sakhalin II project in the Russian Far East is said by project sponsors to be the largest integrated oil and gas project in the world.  The project  involves three…
Sasan ultra mega coal power project (UMPP)
India
The Sasan project - also known as The Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) - will be a 3,960 MW (6x660 MW)  coal-fired project, located in Sasan, Madhya Pradesh. This…
Stanari coal power plant
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Energy Finance Team is currently developing a lignite power plant in Stanari, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The proposed 300 MW plant is being built by Dongfang Electric…
TES 6 coal power plant
Slovenia
Šoštanj in North Slovenia 30km from the Austrian border, is the location of an existing lignite-fired power plant - Termoelektrarna Šoštanj or…
Tufanbeyli coal power plant
Turkey
Enerjisa, the Turkish electricity producer owned by E.ON and Sabanci, is building a new coal power plant in Tufanbeyli, commonly known as Enerjisa 2.5. The lignite-fired…
Venezuelan tar sands
Venezuela
Venezuela's tar sands are reported to be the largest after Canada, with recoverable oil totalling at least 2.26 trillion barrels. The majority of the deposits are located…
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Adani
India
Adani is a large Indian resources, logistics and energy company with big expansion plans. It was founded by Indian billionaire Gutram Adani, in 1988. It has coal mining interests…
Coal India
India
Coal India is the biggest coal producer worldwide, owned by the government of India. It was created in the 1970's, when India's coal minging industry was nationalised in…
E.on
Germany
E.ON is one of the world's largest investor-owned power and gas companies. It owns major asset positions in the U.S., Russia, Brazil, Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden,…
EDF
France
Like its rival and fellow French multinational AREVA, Électricité de France (EDF) is one of the biggest players in the global energy game. In fact, with more…
Enel
Italy
Enel is Italy's largest power company and Europe's second largest according to its generating capacity. Its interests stretch beyond Italy to 40 countries on four continents.…
ENI
Italy
ENI is an Italian multi-national oil and gas company, and is currently Italy's largest industrial company.  Founded in 1953, the company engages in exploring oil and…
ESKOM
South Africa
Eskom is the world's eleventh-largest power utility in terms of generating capacity and ranks ninth in terms of sales. In 2011 it had an installed generating capacity of…
GDF Suez and International Power
France
GDF SUEZ is the largest independent power producer in the world. In 2013 it operated 600 power plants worldwide. It had 113.7 GW of installed power production capacity and…
RWE
Germany
RWE is Europe's second largest electricity generator and one of Europe's five leading gas and electricity companies. Founded in 1898, the company is active in the generation,…
Vattenfall
Sweden
Sweden's state-owned Vattenfall is Europe's sixth largest generator of electricity and largest producer of heat. In Sweden it has a market share of 50%. The company's generation…
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2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005
pictures
Firewalk Jun 08, 2010


videos

Full length video - Banking while Borneo burns: top five banks fuelling climate change
Oct 02, 2013 - The 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 1 October 2013, firms must disclose information such as energy use and petrol consumption in their annual reports. But the UK's top 5 banks helped fossil fuel companies raise £170 billion between 2010 and 2012. This must be limited if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Banking while Borneo burns: top five banks fuelling climate change
Oct 02, 2013 - The 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 1 October 2013, firms must disclose information such as energy use and petrol consumption in their annual reports. But the UK's top 5 banks helped fossil fuel companies raise £170 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.

Dirty Money
Mar 21, 2011 - Research group PLATFORM launches a new report 'Dirty Money - Corporate greenwash and RBS coal finance'.

Cleaning up the Royal Bank of Scotland
Sep 30, 2010 - short video about activities around the RBS Annual General Meeting earlier this year

Fireparty: launch campaign against banks and climate change
Jun 10, 2010 - -in dutch-

Canada's Dirty Oil: Breaking Our Addiction
Jan 31, 2010 -

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.

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banktrack tweets
Support the @Avaaz petition - tell Barclays to stop investing in Elbit now. https://t.co/OFol9pWFTO http://t.co/bUQaZ5W8An
Jul 22, 2014
@JordiLesaffer Great news, as long as genuinely green. Worrying evidence that GDF's will support descructive dams. http://t.co/CBTrENQ0Ap
Jul 22, 2014
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