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A new report, published Wednesday found that the world’s largest commercial and investment banks have altogether put $3.8 trillion into fossil fuels from 2016 to 2020. This report — a collaboration between the Rainforest Action Network, Bank Track, Indigenous Environmental Network, Oil Change International, Reclaim Finance, and Sierra Club —found that fossil fuel financing has increased precipitously in the years since the Paris Agreement was signed.
Why This Matters: As the Guardian explained, 17 of the 60 banks assessed for this study had made net-zero by 2050 commitments, yet the report describes the pledges as “dangerously weak, half-baked, or vague”, arguing that action is needed today. And while some of the banks have policies against financig coal, almost two-thirds of funding is for oil and gas companies.
Meanwhile, CitiBank emphasized that the bank is planning to work with its fossil fuel banking clients to publicly report their greenhouse gas emissions and then gradually stop financing companies that don’t reduce their emissions.
But this report suggests that banks are the lifeline of fossil fuel companies and their capital ensures that fossil fuels won’t be left in the ground. Lorne Stockman, a Senior Research Analyst at Oil Change International, one of the organizations authoring the report, said: “This report serves as a reality check for banks that think that vague ‘net-zero’ goals are enough to stop the climate crisis. Our future goes where the money flows, and in 2020 these banks have ploughed billions into locking us into further climate chaos.”
Changing Green Finance: While banks have continued to support fossil fuel companies, investors overall want better disclosure of climate risks from public companies–a shared goal of the Biden administration. Yesterday it was announced that the Federal Reserve is creating a “Financial Stability Climate Committee” (FSCC) to “identify, assess, and address climate-related risks to financial stability.”
Today the Biden administration unveils its American Jobs Plan and it is chock full of actions that will create jobs and address climate change and environmental justice issues. At the same time, the Wall Street Journal reported last night that Presidential Climate Envoy Kerry is traveling later this week to the United Arab Emirates and then on to India.
Why This Matters: Climate policy is central to both the Biden foreign and domestic agendas.
To make good on its Build Back Better promise, the Biden administration is considering a very big infrastructure bill — spending could be as much as $300 billion a year for 10 years or $3 trillion total — with much of it going to update energy infrastructure to make it “cleaner” and also for the energy grid, roads, bridges, and water pipes and sewer upgrades to make them safer and more climate-resilient, several major media outlets are reporting.
Why This Matters: Americans, according to recent polling by Yale University’s climate communications project, overwhelmingly want to see Congress and the administration take bold action on climate change.
Protecting nature and maximizing the capacity of land and water to sequester carbon is one of the best tools to help fight global climate change. Yet many of Earth’s most biodiverse ecosystems are in serious jeopardy: for example, a first-of-its-kind study from Frontiers in Forests and Global Change revealed that the Amazon rainforest emits more […]
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