Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

'Despicable': Wells Fargo Bashed for Plans to Cash In on Global Climate Crisis

Climate
Feb. 3, 2017 protest at Wells Fargo Bank. Joe Piette / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

By Jessica Corbett

While most Americans are increasingly alarmed about the human-made climate crisis, Wells Fargo—the big bank known for "ripping off" college students and investing in "shady" industries—is under fire for approaching it as a way to make more money.


Citing disclosures provided to the British nonprofit CDP—which collects self-reported environmental impact data from companies, cities, states and regions worldwide—Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Wells Fargo sees the crisis as potentially profitable.

"Preparation for and response to climate-change induced natural disasters result in greater construction, conservation, and other business activities," the bank reportedly noted in its disclosure, adding that it "has the opportunity to provide financing to support these efforts."

Sierra Club, which has pressured Wells Fargo to stop providing billions of dollars in financing for dirty energy projects like the widely contested the Dakota Access Pipeline, sharply condemned the bank's plans to cash in on the crisis.

"It's despicable that Wells Fargo is seeking to profit from the destruction and suffering its own investments are helping to create," Sierra Club campaign representative Ben Cushing said in a statement.

"Rather than scheming about how to make more money off of the climate crisis," Cushing declared, "Wells Fargo should stop making the problem worse and divest from the dirtiest fuels on the planet."

Wells Fargo received a D+ grade in the 2018 Banking on Climate Change report card produced by environmental groups including Sierra Club—the second-lowest grade given to any U.S. bank. As one example of its bad behavior, the report pointed to Enbridge's Line 3 tar sands pipeline.

"In October, Wells Fargo led a syndicate of more than a dozen banks in renewing a credit facility of $1.48 billion for the company," the report stated, "despite a coalition of 15 Indigenous and environmental groups detailing the human rights and environmental impacts of the Line 3 pipeline."

But Wells Fargo isn't just known for pouring billions into the fossil fuel industry—it also has garnered a bad reputation for raking in money from customers through a litany of ripoffs and scams.

Lindsey Barrett, a staff attorney and teaching fellow at Georgetown University Law Center's Institute for Public Representation, responded to the Bloomberg report with a reference to the bank's track record of "stealing from its customers."

In perhaps the bank's most infamous scandal, for which it was hit with $185 million in fines in 2016, Wells Fargo employees were found to have secretly opened new accounts and made unauthorized transfers from customers' existing accounts so the bank could profit off of the fees.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Wells Fargo received the "lowest grade given to any U.S. bank" by environmental groups when it should've read the second lowest grade. The article has been updated to reflect this change.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Residents plant mangroves on the coast of West Aceh District in Indonesia on Feb. 21, 2020. Mangroves play a crucial role in stabilizing the coastline, providing protection from storms, waves and tidal erosion. Dekyon Eon / Opn Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mangroves play a vital role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere. Mangrove forests are tremendous assets in the fight to stem the climate crisis. They store more carbon than a rainforest of the same size.

Read More Show Less
UN World Oceans Day is usually an invite-only affair at the UN headquarters in New York, but this year anyone can join in by following the live stream on the UNWOD website from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. https://unworldoceansday.org/

Monday is World Oceans Day, but how can you celebrate our blue planet while social distancing?

Read More Show Less
Cryptococcus yeasts (pictured), including ones that are hybrids, can cause life-threatening infections in primarily immunocompromised people. KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

By Jacob L. Steenwyk and Antonis Rokas

From the mythical minotaur to the mule, creatures created from merging two or more distinct organisms – hybrids – have played defining roles in human history and culture. However, not all hybrids are as fantastic as the minotaur or as dependable as the mule; in fact, some of them cause human diseases.

Read More Show Less
National Trails Day 2020 is now titled In Solidarity, AHS Suspends Promotion of National Trails Day 2020. The American Hiking Society is seeking to amplify Black voices in the outdoor community and advocate for equal access to the outdoors. Klaus Vedfelt / DigitalVision / Getty Images

This Saturday, June 6, marks National Trails Day, an annual celebration of the remarkable recreational, scenic and hiking trails that crisscross parks nationwide. The event, which started in 1993, honors the National Trail System and calls for volunteers to help with trail maintenance in parks across the country.

Read More Show Less
Indigenous people from the Parque das Tribos community mourn the death of Chief Messias of the Kokama tribe from Covid-19, in Manaus, Brazil, on May 14, 2020. MICHAEL DANTAS / AFP / Getty Images

By John Letzing

This past Wednesday, when some previously hard-hit countries were able to register daily COVID-19 infections in the single digits, the Navajo Nation – a 71,000 square-kilometer (27,000-square-mile) expanse of the western US – reported 54 new cases of what's referred to locally as "Dikos Ntsaaígíí-19."

Read More Show Less
World Environment Day was put into motion almost fifty years ago by the United Nations as a response to a multitude of environmental threats. RicardoImagen / Getty Images

It's a different kind of World Environment Day this year. In prior years, it might have been enough to plant a tree, spend some extra time in the garden, or teach kids the importance of recycling. This year we have heavier tasks at hand. It's been months since we've been able to spend sufficient time outside, and as we lustfully watch the beauty of a new spring through our kitchen's glass windows, we have to decide how we'll interact with the natural world on our release, and how we can prevent, or be equipped to handle, future threats against our wellbeing.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Experts are worried that COVID-19, a primarily respiratory and airway disease, could have permanent effects on lungs, inhibiting the ability for divers to continue diving. Tiffany Duong / Ocean Rebels

Scuba divers around the world are holding their metaphorical breath to see if a coronavirus infection affects the ability to dive.

Read More Show Less