BankTrack contact person for this campaign:
Yann Louvel, Climate and Energy Campaign Coordinator, BankTrack
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"Banks: Quit Coal!"
From concerns over air pollution and acid rain to its destructive impact on the climate, coal has been recognised as the dirtiest, most dated and most inefficient fossil fuel option. It is the most emissions intensive fossil fuel and the leading cause of climate change. Globally, coal-fired power plants are the largest source of carbon dioxide - greater than tropical deforestation or oil use for transportation.
These facts have been well-established for some time, yet it is only very recently that international private banks, which have collectively provided the global coal industry with hundreds of billions of dollars in financial support over decades, have started to publicly sound alarm bells about both coal's dreadful impacts and its increasing unsoundness as an investment commodity.
Such alarm bells have not been heard as yet uniformly across the banking sector, but they are growing - from the likes of Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Citi in their advice to investors, and as seen in August 2015 comments from the CEO of KBC, one of Belgium's biggest banks, stating that he would prefer to no longer invest in coal.
This kind of recognition of the threat posed by continuing extraction and burning of coal, albeit very belated, is welcome from the banking sector, but it is scarcely being matched in tangible deeds and real divesting from coal, as we expose in our coalbanks.org website, which we launched in 2014 and which generated the most extensive data set so far on the links between banks and the coal industry.
While we have seen a number of coal finance breakthroughs in the last few years in large part due to campaign pressure applied by BankTrack and our allies engaged in international coal campaigning - as of June 2017, ten major international banks have committed to end their direct financing for new coal mines and new coal plants, worldwide - many banks now have to follow them and they all still need to stop their indirect financing to companies planning any new coal, as the window for taking action to drastically reduce carbon emissions and avoid an outright climate emergency is rapidly closing.
The banking sector view on coal is perhaps best captured by these self-satisfied (and self-serving) words currently on display on the website of Germany's biggest bank, in answer to the question "Why does Deutsche Bank support the coal industry?"
"Deutsche Bank supports a well-balanced global energy system that is forward- looking and that takes account of economic conditions as well as environmental and health and safety considerations.
At present, it is still not possible to meet the substantial global energy demand solely through renewable energy sources. For this reason, we will continue to finance a diversified range of energy. Given the increasing energy demand, in some regions of the world coal cannot be avoided."
The lack of ambition is palpable, and illustrates the challenge we are facing to end banking sector life support for the coal industry. BankTrack believes, fundamentally, that in order to avoid the devastating impacts of their investments, private banks must take steps to disengage from all activities and projects that substantially contribute to climate change and environmental and community degradation.
In the coal sector, therefore, they must:
- End support for all new coal extraction and delivery, and all new coal-fired power plants projects, worldwide;
- End support for all coal companies that meet one of the following criteria:
1) They are planning investments into new coal mines, new coal power plants or coal infrastructure, or they are planning to buy existing coal mines, coal power plants or coal infrastructure.
2) 30% or more of their revenues or power production are coal-based;
3) Their annual production, consumption or trading of coal exceeds an absolute threshold of 20 million tons of coal annually.
BankTrack coal campaigns
In recent years, and in tandem with our partners, our coal campaigning around the world has focused on the dodgy deals pictured on this world map. The main active ones have been the following:
- Mountain Top Removal Coal Mining in the United States
Mountaintop 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 in order to reach the coal seams that lie underneath. The resulting millions of tons of waste rock, dirt and vegetation are then dumped into surrounding valleys, burying miles and miles of streams under piles of rubble hundreds of feet deep. MTR mining harms not only aquatic ecosystems and water quality, it also destroys hundreds of acres of healthy forests and fish and wildlife habitats, including the habitats of threatened and endangered species, when the tops of mountains are blasted away. Rather than remove coal from the mountain, MTR removes the mountain from the coal. And, needless to say, this has also created havoc and misery for scores of communities across America's Appalachian Mountains.
However, our targeting of major key banks that have long supported the MTR sector has reaped positive dividends in the last few years, and as part of the momentum of the campaign in 2014-2015, we have been witnessing 18 major US and European banks - as of June 2017 - publicly committing, one after the other, to pull out of this most controversial and catastrophic form of coal mining.
- Coal mining Galilee basin in Australia, including these projects:
The Galilee Basin is a 247,000 square kilometre thermal coal basin in the central region of the Australian state of Queensland. It is one of the largest untapped coal reserves on the planet. There are currently nine coal mega-mines proposed for the Galilee Basin, including Alpha Coal and Carmichael, which together make it the second biggest fossil fuel expansion proposed anywhere in the world (after Western China). At full production, the proposed Galilee Basin projects would double Australia’s coal exports to over 600 million tonnes a year. If the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the burning of Galilee Basin coal were compared to fossil fuel emissions from other countries, the Galilee Basin would rank as the world’s seventh biggest contributor of CO2 pollution. The development of the Galilee Basin is the driver for the proposed expansion of coal ports along the Great Barrier Reef coast, which is causing international concern.
An global coalition of NGOs has been opposing these projects for years, and has targeted international banks involved or that could get involved in these dodgy deals, resulting in the withdrawal of Société Générale from the Alpha Coal project, the withdrawal of Commonwealth Bank and Standard Chartered from the Carmichael project, as well as the commitments from 21 major banks - as of June 2017 - not to get involved in the financing of the Abbot Point coal export terminal/the Carmichael project/any Galilee basin project/any new coal mine project globally.
Other priority coal projects around the world that BankTrack is collaborating on with local and international partners:
- Coal mines and coal infrastructure projects:
- Amasra coal mine and power station - Turkey
- Cerrejon coal mine - Columbia
- IndoMet coal project - Indonesia
- Kaltim Prima Coal - Indonesia
- Maules Creek coal mine - Australia
- Phulbari coal mine - Bangladesh
- Great Barrier Reef Coal & Gas Exports- Australia
- Coal power plants projects:
- Batang Coal Power Project - Indonesia
- Cirebon 2 coal fired power plant - Indonesia
- Kusile coal power plant - South Africa
- Medupi coal-fired power plant - South Africa
- Ostroleka C coal and biomass power plant - Poland
- Pljevlja II lignite-fired power plant - Montenegro
- Plomin C Coal Power Plant- Croatia
- Punta Catalina-Hatillo coal power project - Dominican Republic
- Rampal Coal Based Thermal Power Plant- Bangladesh
- TES 6 coal power plant - Slovenia
- Tanjung Jati B 2 - Indonesia
- Tata Mundra Ultra Mega Power Plant (UMPP)- India
Bank of America United States
Bank of China China
Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Japan
Barclays United Kingdom
BNP Paribas France
China Construction Bank China
Citi United States
Crédit Agricole France
Credit Suisse Switzerland
Deutsche Bank Germany
Goldman Sachs United States
HSBC United Kingdom
JPMorgan Chase United States
Morgan Stanley United States
RBS United Kingdom
Société Générale France
Wells Fargo United States
Related Dodgy Deals
Alpha Coal project Australia
Amasra coal mine and power station Turkey
Batang Coal Power Project Indonesia
Carmichael coal mine project Australia
Cerrejón coal mine Colombia
Cirebon 2 coal fired power plant Indonesia
Czeczott coal power plant Poland
Great Barrier Reef Coal & Gas Exports Australia
HRL/Dual Gas coal power plant Australia
IndoMet Coal Project Indonesia
Jaworzno coal power plant Poland
Kaltim Prima Coal mine Indonesia
Kosovo C coal power plant Kosovo
Kusile coal power plant South Africa
Maules Creek coal mine Australia
Medupi coal-fired power plant South Africa
Ostroleka C coal and biomass power plant Poland
Phulbari coal mine Bangladesh
Pólnoc coal power plant Poland
Rampal Coal Based Thermal Power Plant Bangladesh
Rybnik coal power plant Poland
Sasan ultra mega coal power project (UMPP) India
SOCAR Aegean Refinery Turkey
Stanari coal power plant Bosnia and Herzegovina
Tata Mundra Ultra Mega Power Plant (UMPP) India
TES 6 coal power plant Slovenia
Tufanbeyli coal power plant Turkey
Turów coal power plant Poland
Alpha Natural Resources United States
Anglo American United Kingdom
Arch Coal United States
BHP Billiton Australia
Bumi Resources Indonesia
Coal India India
Coal of Africa Australia
Drummond United States
ESKOM South Africa
Jindal Steel & Power India
Rio Tinto Australia
Shenhua Group China
ZE PAK (Zespół Elektrowni Pątnów-Adamów-Konin) Poland
Campaigners to call for Deutsche Bank exit from Dominican coal plant at annual meeting
- Massive bribery allegations against plant construction company Odebrecht