Barclays Tightens Lending for Coal and Oil Sands Exploration but Not for Oil and Gas in General
British bank Barclays has announced the narrowing of its lending criteria for clients involved in coal-fired power generation and will cease to finance the surface mining method of oil sands exploration and production, but has still not committed to restricting lending for oil and gas as some of its competitors have.
In its annual report for 2022, Barclays extended its planned phaseout of financing for coal-fired power from clients in the UK and EU by 2030 to include other member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
“Disappointingly, despite not having published a new oil and gas policy for the last three years, the bank’s fracking policy remains unchanged and there is no mention of new oil and gas. This means Barclays continues to be out of step with current minimum standards of ambition within the industry,” Head of Banking Programme at ShareAction Jeanne Martin said in a statement.
Environmental activists have urged banks worldwide to stop their financing of new oil and gas extraction and criticized them for announcing plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but not implementing them quickly enough.
In its report, Barclays said it will end the financing of new oil sands pipelines, as well as oil tar sands companies.
The multinational bank also set its first target for the automotive manufacturing industry to reduce its emissions, reported Reuters. It promised 40 to 64 percent lower emissions by 2030 compared to last year’s numbers.
In addition, Barclays set a “convergence point” rather than a target for reducing emissions in the residential real estate sector by 40 percent by 2030. It said the decarbonization of homes in the UK was reliant on a broader set of decisions that were beyond the bank’s control.
The annual report said last year Barclays had lowered its emissions for the energy, cement and steel sectors.
For the bank’s energy clients, the amount of absolute greenhouse gas emissions generated has gone down 32 percent since 2020.
30 investors with $1.5 trillion in assets being managed by five of Europe’s biggest banks — including Barclays — have written to one or more of them to ask that they agree to stop the direct financing of new oil and gas fields by the end of this year and instead focus on renewable energy companies, nonprofit ShareAction said. The investors expressed their concern that the worldwide path to net zero would be threatened by new oil and gas fields.
“Barclays should step up and act swiftly to update its oil and gas policy ahead of its 2023 AGM to meet science-based standards on climate that have made it clear there is no room for new oil and gas fields if we want to limit global warming to 1.5C,” Martin said in the statement. “Otherwise, the bank should be prepared to deal with further shareholder action to encourage Barclays to meaningfully align with its net zero goal.”
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