Fossil fuel financing from the world’s 60 largest banks has reached USD $4.6 trillion in the six years since the adoption of the Paris Agreement, with $742 billion in fossil fuel financing in 2021 alone. Banks continue to fund climate chaos around the globe.
Despite ‘Net Zero’ Rhetoric, World’s Biggest Banks Continued to Pour Billions into Fossil Fuel Expansion in 2021 — News Release
Banks = Climate Chaos
The 2022 Banking on Climate Chaos report 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 industry that has done the most to cause the climate crisis will not solve it and any bank supporting any company that is expanding fossil fuels is driving climate chaos.
The report shows that overall fossil fuel financing remains dominated by four U.S. 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. All five Canadian banks were among those that increased their fossil financing from 2020 to 2021. And RBC continues to be Canada’s worst fossil bank.
Canada’s top five fossil banks—RBC, TD, BMO, CIBC, Scotiabank—rank in the dirty dozen top spots for the biggest increases in fossil financing between 2020 and 2021. RBC placed second, with an increase of $19 billion, (just behind first-place Wells Fargo) followed by Scotiabank at $14 billion, CIBC at $13 billion, with TD and BMO placing eighth and ninth, with increases of $4 billion each.
The industry that has done the most to cause the climate crisis will not solve it. Research shows that the oil and gas industry has already invested in producing more oil and gas than we can afford to burn if we are to limit global warming to 1.5ºC.
Alarmingly, the tar sands saw a 51% increase in financing from 2020–2021, to $23.3 billion, with the biggest jump coming from Canadian banks RBC and TD. Five of the top 6 funders of the tar sands are Canada’s big five banks.
RBC ranked as the FIFTH worst fossil fuel bank in 2021, pouring $201 BILLION into the industry since the Paris Climate Agreement. Among the projects it supports is the harmful Coastal GasLink pipeline, which is driving climate chaos and hurting Indigenous Wet’suwet’en peoples.
Canadian banks have a big climate problem on their hands. @RBC is the WORST Canadian financier for fossil fuels, pumping $39 billion into the industry in 2021 & financing harmful projects like Coastal GasLink pipeline. Learn more: https://t.co/iaNPstdTge. #DefundClimateChange pic.twitter.com/6EL1e4IdQu
— Below2°C (@Below2C_) April 2, 2022
The world’s leading climate scientists have concluded that existing reserves of fossil fuels contain more than enough carbon pollution to break our remaining ‘carbon budget’ and thrust the world past 2 degrees Celsius of warming — let alone the 1.5 degree aspirations of the Paris Agreement — and the climate catastrophe that entails.
The Year of Net-zero
The year 2021 was the year of net zero: 44 of the 60 banks in the scope of the report have now committed to “net zero emissions by 2050”. Although this is good news, 27 of them still don’t have a meaningful no-expansion policy for any part of the fossil fuel industry. Unfortunately, 2021 was also the Year of Hypocrisy: big banks made net-zero commitments across the board but FAILED to take real climate action.
While the acknowledgement of banks’ accountability for their climate impact is welcome, as is the setting of their long-term direction of travel, long-term commitments cannot serve as cover for short-term continuation of business as usual; if they do, they are simply greenwashing.
Furthermore, the “net” in net zero also threatens to entrench a system of offsets that endangers human rights and nature, does not reduce emissions, and undermines and delays necessary emissions reductions elsewhere.
Any bank that makes a “net zero by 2050” commitment & continues with business-as-usual fossil fuel financing is a climate denier. RT this and tell big banks, like @Chase @RBC to take meaningful climate action NOW. #FossilBanksNoThanks #BankingOnClimateChaos #DefundClimateChang pic.twitter.com/ycUa7uPhIg
— Below2°C (@Below2C_) April 2, 2022
Maaike Beenes, Banktrack Campaign Lead on Banks and Climate: “Climate science has made it inescapably clear that there can be no expansion of fossil fuels if we are to limit global warming to 1.5˚ C. But banks have continued to fund companies planning to open up new fossil fuel frontiers, including by financing disastrous projects like the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, expansion of fracking in Argentina’s Vaca Muerta and the expansion of the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline.”
David Tong, Oil Change International Global Industry Campaign Manager: “It is past time to stop financing fossils. Oil, gas, and coal companies will not manage their own decline. The simple reality is that the fundamental arithmetic of 1.5ºC requires oil and gas production to decline by at least 3-4% per year, starting now. But no major oil and gas company has committed to ending expansion, and banks around the world continue to pour billions into fossil fuels. That must stop now. If the banks’ responses to the climate crisis are to be taken seriously, they must commit to ending finance for fossil fuels.”
Alison Kirsch Rainforest Action Network Research and Policy Manager: “Any further expansion of fossil fuels risks locking humanity into generations of climate catastrophe, yet the top fossil clients of the world’s largest banks are still being showered with tens of billions of dollars even as they actively expand drilling, mining, fracking and other fossil fuel development unabated.
Please sign this Rainforest Action Network Petition
(This article is sourced from the report, the Banktrack media release and the BankingOnClimateChaos.org toolkit for social media.)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.