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A new report by a group of environmentalist organizations has accused the world’s biggest banks of wreaking “climate chaos” on the world by investing trillions in the oil and gas industry.
Titled “Banking on Climate Chaos”, the report says that the world’s 60 biggest banks have invested $3.8 trillion in fossil fuels in the five years since the Paris Agreement.
“Runaway funding for fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure fuels climate chaos and threatens the lives and livelihoods of millions,” the authors said, noting that the biggest culprit was JP Morgan, which poured $317 billion in the oil and gas industry through lending and debt and equity issue underwriting.
Citi was second, with $238 billion in fossil fuel investments over the five years since the Paris Agreement, and Wells Fargo completed the top three with $223 billion. Bank of America and RBC came in fourth and fifth, making the top five “wrong” investors all-North American.
In all fairness, many banks have been in a rush to make environmental commitments recently, possibly thanks to the growth spurt that ESG investments have experienced over the last few years and the growing pressure on all industries to reduce their carbon footprint.
JP Morgan, for example, last year launched something called the Center for Carbon Transition as a tool to help its corporate clients reduce their own emissions, which would help the bank reduce the emissions from its business.
Citi has set for itself a net-zero emissions target for 2050 earlier this month, noting that it had invested in $164 billion worth of “low-carbon solutions” and had last year made a commitment to invest or facilitate another $250 billion in “environmental transactions” over the next five years.
Wells Fargo is no exception—the bank has committed to reducing its emissions by 45 percent from 2008 levels this year alone, as well as its energy consumption by 40 percent from 2008 levels. Like the rest of the Wall Street giants, Wells this year committed to becoming a net-zero enterprise by 2050.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com