UK banks’ support for coal industry has risen since 2015 Paris climate pact | Banking

British banks’ monetary support for corporations concerned within the coal industry has risen since the 2015 Paris settlement, regardless of their pledges to wind down financing for a sector seen as a major impediment to tackling international heating.

UK lenders supplied loans and underwriting providers price $30.3bn (£21.9bn) to corporations that offered or burned coal, or supplied coal industry providers, throughout 2019, the newest year for which full information is on the market, in line with analysis by the marketing campaign teams Reclaim Finance and Urgewald. That represented a major enhance in contrast with $21.5bn in financing supplied in 2016.

Barclays was by far the largest UK supplier of finance to corporations within the coal industry, adopted by HSBC and Standard Chartered, the analysis discovered.

Burning coal produces extra carbon dioxide emissions than different fossil fuels, together with oil and pure fuel, and phasing it out quickly is broadly seen as a key a part of ending the climate disaster.

However, campaigners have criticised the banks and different monetary corporations equivalent to insurers and asset managers whose phase-out plans enable them to proceed taking advantage of coal for years.

The UK is the world’s third-largest lender to coal industry corporations, behind solely the US and Japan. The discovering comes because the UK prepares to host UN Cop26 climate talks in November. Under the Paris climate accord, 189 international locations agreed to restrict international heating to properly beneath 2C, the scientifically suggested restrict of security.

Lucie Pinson, Reclaim Finance’s government director, stated: “The City of London isn’t lifting a finger to end its deadly coal addiction, even if that means wrecking the UK’s reputation on climate. On the international stage the UK government has sought to lead a global exit from coal, but the financial sector clearly hasn’t got the memo.”

Barclays supplied loans and underwriting (the acquisition and resale of debt or shares for corporations elevating money) price $17.5bn in 2019 for corporations on the global coal exit list, a database of corporations with important coal-related earnings. This included finance for the FTSE 100 mining company Glencore and the Finnish and US vitality corporations Fortum and Duke Energy, the report says.

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HSBC gave $6.5bn in financing in 2019 to corporations with coal pursuits. It has beforehand financed corporations together with Indonesia’s PLN and South Korea’s Kepco. Standard Chartered supplied providers price $4.6bn in 2019, and has funded India’s Adani and Power Finance Corp, in addition to South Korea’s Posco.

Between January and October 2020 these three banks supplied one other $19.2bn in coal financing – the identical quantity as in the entire of 2016.

The information comes as buyers more and more stress banks to enhance their report on climate points. On Wednesday Barclays will face its second consecutive shareholder climate vote on a decision urging it to section out providers to coal, oil and fuel corporations.

Market Forces, the environmental group that organised the shareholder decision, claims the financial institution nonetheless has not proved that its work with polluting corporations is aligned with Paris climate objectives.

Barclays says it adopted its climate coverage final year, claiming it could attain web zero emissions targets with out universally phasing out fossil gasoline shoppers, and as a substitute serving to them transition to greener business fashions.

A gaggle of 16 influential funding corporations – together with Amundi, Man Group and government-backed pension scheme Nest – wrote to the Barclays chief government, Jes Staley, final week, pushing him to tighten its insurance policies. However, it’s understood that a number of the buyers are possible to present Barclays extra time to implement present pledges earlier than making use of additional stress.

Barclays stated: “The board continues to believe that Barclays can make the greatest difference by supporting the transition to a low carbon economy, rather than by simply phasing out support for some of the clients who are most engaged in it.”

The financial institution stated nearly all of the coal financing lined by the analysis occurred earlier than it began aligning its work with the Paris settlement in March 2020. It will regularly restrict financing to corporations that receive important coal revenues.

Barclays, HSBC and Standard Chartered stated they didn’t present direct financing to new coal initiatives, though that didn’t consider financing for conglomerates with extra various companies.

HSBC stated it might publish a plan by the top of the year to section out financing for coal-fired energy initiatives or thermal coalmines in wealthier international locations by 2030. A spokesperson for HSBC stated the financial institution would assist shoppers “progressively decarbonise” however that it might additionally intention to “maintain economic stability”.

A Standard Chartered spokesperson stated the company had “made major strides in our coal policy over the past few years” and it might proceed to overview its position.

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