Quantcast

The Big Banks Are Committing Major Crimes Against Our Climate

Climate
Canada tar sands, Alberta. Jiri Rezac / Greenpeace

By Alison Kirsch

At the start of next week, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the U.N.'s negotiating body on climate change, will meet in Germany to discuss next steps after the historic agreement by 195 countries to curb global climate change to 1.5° Celsius, or 2° at most—an agreement whose only logical conclusion is that the world cannot afford expansion of the fossil fuel industry.

Various players in the financial industry have talked a big game on their commitments to the Paris agreement. But their business practices prove otherwise.


According to the new report Funding Tar Sands: Private Banks vs. the Paris Climate Agreement, in the first three quarters of 2017, major international banks have financed the extraction and transportation of tar sands at levels one and a half times higher than in the whole of 2016.

How can it be that in the last nine months, $32 billion has gone to an extreme fossil fuel whose development is flatly incompatible with meeting the goals of the Paris agreement?

Moreover, banks continue to stand behind their clients whose proposed tar sands projects, from Teck Resources' Frontier open-pit mine, to Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline, would further damn our climate and infringe upon indigenous rights.

When President Trump announced he would pull the U.S. out of the Paris agreement, he drew a line: the Paris agreement's goal of limiting climate change to 1.5°C on one side, and his administration on the other.

On what side of the line do banks fall? Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, said, "I absolutely disagree with the administration on this issue." And yet, JPMorgan Chase has increased its financing for tar sands this year, banking on major companies as they acquire new tar sands assets. Meanwhile, the bank's policy grade comes in at a disappointing D+. JPMorgan Chase's actions declare its support not for the Paris agreement and the world's desperate need to stymie climate change, but rather for the Trump administration's pro-fossil fuel agenda.

Financial institutions have shown that they are able to make significant steps toward aligning their businesses with the goals of the Paris agreement. Three weeks ago, BNP Paribas published a new policy restricting its financing for tar sands oil, among other extreme fossil fuels, in a move that the Wall Street Journal called "one of the clearest signs yet the banking industry is re-evaluating its relationship with the oil sector."

It's a relationship that direly needs reevaluation. Banks can't keep funding business as usual expansion of fossil fuels, especially when it comes to the carbon bomb that is the tar sands.

Like it or not, we can't meet the goals of the Paris agreement without the financial industry on board, especially as governments like Trump's loosen the reins on the fossil fuel industry. Banks must take the immediate step of exiting the tar sands sector. Independent of governments, these major multinational institutions must say they're on board with the Paris agreement—and then prove it.

Reposted with permission from our media associate AlterNet.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pixabay

By Lisa Wartenberg, MFA, RD, LD

Pears are sweet, bell-shaped fruits that have been enjoyed since ancient times. They can be eaten crisp or soft.

Read More Show Less
Photon-Photos / iStock / Getty Images Plus

The desert of Australia's Northern Territory has the iconic Ayers Rock, but not much else. Soon, it may be known as home to the world's largest solar farm, according to the Guardian.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
A Boeing 737-800 BCF (Boeing Converted Freighter) is marked "Prime Air" as part of Amazon Prime's freight aircraft during the 53rd International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris, France on June 22. Mustafa Yalcin / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

It's Prime Day! The day when thousands of increasingly absurd items are discounted so deeply that you suddenly need items you never knew existed. Yes, I do need a hotdog shaped toaster next to me while I watch this Fast & Furious seven movie box set! And I need it in my house today!

Read More Show Less

By Peter Sinclair

The weather in many areas across the U.S. has been – and certainly throughout America's heartland was for much of the past winter and spring – frightful.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
There's a short window between when a tick bites and when it passes on bacteria or virus. MSU Ag Communications, Courtesy Dr. Tina Nations, CC BY-ND

By Jerome Goddard

When it comes to problems caused by ticks, Lyme disease hogs a lot of the limelight. But various tick species carry and transmit a collection of other pathogens, some of which cause serious, even fatal, conditions.

Read More Show Less
tomosang / Moment / Getty Images

By Jessica A. Knoblauch

Say goodbye to one of the dreamiest things about childhood. In the Midwest, fireflies are dying off.

Read More Show Less
A new Climate Emergency Fund contains more than $625,000 which will go to grassroots climate action groups like Extinction Rebellion and students who have organized weekly climate strikes all over the world. @ExtinctionR / Twitter

By Julia Conley

Heeding the call of grassroots campaigners, several wealthy philanthropists announced Friday a new fund that will raise money for climate action groups around the world.

Read More Show Less