Four leading UK banks provided $31.8 billion in finance to companies that are constructing new coal plants across the globe, in spite of the Paris Agreement's commitment to fund projects that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a leading environmental organization said on ThursdayMOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 05th December, 2019) Four leading UK banks provided $31.8 billion in finance to companies that are constructing new coal plants across the globe, in spite of the Paris Agreement's commitment to fund projects that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a leading environmental organization said on Thursday.
Greenpeace International's whistleblowing project, Unearthed, published the findings on their website. The report was based upon data gathered by environmental organizations Urgewald and BankTrack.
In the report, Unearthed claim that HSBC, Standard Chartered, Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland offered $31.8 billion in finance over the last three years to companies that are constructing new coal power plants.
"Compared to their European counterparts, UK banks have stubbornly failed for several years to adequately respond to the worsening climate emergency by at least introducing policy restrictions to significantly curb their sponsoring of coal expansion around the world. Cosmetic policy tweaks no longer cut it," BankTrack coal campaigner, Greig Aitken, said in the report.
Unearthed claimed that HSBC was the largest sponsor of the coal industry out of the four UK banks. HSBC offered $2.76 billion in loans and $8.02 billion in underwriting between 2016 and 2019, the report stated. Finance from UK banks supported the construction of coal plants in Germany and Indonesia, as well as the Adani mega mine in Australia, which is set to produce 2.3 billion tonnes of coal over the next 60 years, the report stated.
In November, Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, warned that banks were supporting projects that could result in the rise of global temperatures by 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit, double the amount set out by the Paris Agreement, the report noted.
In response to Unearthed's claims, a HSBC spokesperson stated that the bank had ceased funding the construction of new coal plants last year, contradicting the report's claims that HSBC lent $1.79 billion in 2019.
"HSBC recognises the role of the financial sector in addressing climate change. We do not support new thermal coal mines and have not financed any new coal fired power plants anywhere since April 2018," the HSBC spokesperson said, as quoted in the report.
The Paris Agreement was signed in 2015 with the ambitious aim to bring all nations together under the common cause of combating climate change. Its most well-known premise is to try to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels and to ideally pursue an even lower limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius. The treaty has no compliance mechanism.