Paris (AFP) – Financial institutions have channeled $745 billion over the past three years into companies planning new coal-fired power plants, according to a report by environmental groups, who are urging global banks to stop financing the sector.
The report’s release comes as world leaders met this week in Madrid for a 12-day UN climate summit, where they are expected to hammer out some of the details of the 2015 Paris agreement.
They face increasing pressure to step up their commitments on fossil fuel reduction after a major UN report last year warned global warming must be capped at 1.5C and the global economy must be “carbon neutral” by 2050 to stay under that threshold.
The report released by environmental groups on Thursday cites more than 1,000 new coal power stations or units in the pipeline. That amount of pollution could send the planet off the proverbial cliff!
“Most of the top banks providing loans or investment banking services to these companies acknowledge the risks of climate change, but their actions are a slap in the face to the Paris Climate Agreement,” said Greig Aitken, climate campaigner at BankTrack.
The top lenders are Japanese banks Mizuho, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. These are followed by US giant Citigroup and France’s BNP Paribas.