World s biggest banks continue to pour billions into fossil fuel

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New Delhi, March 31

 The 13th annual Banking on Climate Chaos report, the most comprehensive global analysis on fossil fuel banking to date, underscores the stark disparity between public climate commitments being made by the world's largest banks, versus the reality of their largely business-as-usual financing to the fossil fuel industry.

The report, released on Thursday, documents that in the six years since the Paris Agreement was adopted, the world's 60 largest private banks financed fossil fuels with $4.6 trillion, with $742 billion in 2021 alone. 2021 fossil fuel financing numbers remained above 2016 levels, when the Paris Agreement was signed.

Of particular significance is the revelation that the 60 banks profiled in the report funneled $185.5 billion just last year into the 100 companies doing the most to expand the fossil fuel sector.

'Banking on Climate Chaos' was authored by Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, Indigenous Environmental Network, Oil Change International, Reclaim Finance, Sierra Club, and Urgewald, and is endorsed by over 500 organisations from around the world.

The report shows that overall fossil fuel financing remains dominated by four US banks, with JPMorgan Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America together accounting for one quarter of all fossil fuel financing identified over the last six years.

JPMorgan Chase remains the world's worst funder of climate chaos, while JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Mizuho, MUFG, and all five Canadian banks were among those that increased their fossil financing from 2020 to 2021.

As global oil and gas markets are rocked by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the data reveal JPMorgan Chase to be the biggest banker covered in this report for Russian state energy giant Gazprom, both in terms of 2016-2021 totals and when looking only at last year.

JPMorgan Chase provided Gazprom with $1.1 billion in fossil fuel financing in 2021.

Chuck Baclagon, 350.org Regional Finance Campaigner said: "While China may have begun to lead the way on low-carbon development, their banks are lagging far behind. If banks like ICBC truly want to be global leaders, they need a robust fossil fuel financing exclusion policy that is on par with China's goals for carbon neutrality.

"As we saw in the recent IPCC climate impacts report, and can expect in the upcoming IPCC mitigation report, we cannot continue business as usual. It is time to hold these financial institutions accountable and turn off the money tap to fossil fuels."

Eri Watanabe, 350.org Japan Finance Campaigner, says: "This report reveals that six years after the adoption of the Paris Agreement, three Japanese megabanks continue to provide significant funding to the global fossil fuel sector.

"These banks' current policy of continuing to fund expansion plans is inconsistent with their own net zero declarations, let alone the 1.5 degrees target of the Paris Agreement.

"To meet the 1.5 degrees target, there is an urgent need to develop rigorous climate policies that include corporate finance, which makes up the majority of fossil fuel finance. The investment and financing policy for the fossil fuel sector, including gas and oil, should be revised immediately based on climate science."
 

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