SOURCE: The Guardian

DATE: March 18, 2020

SNIP: The world’s largest investment banks have funnelled more than £2.2tn ($2.66tn) into fossil fuels since the Paris agreement, new figures show, prompting warnings they are failing to respond to the climate crisis.

The US bank JP Morgan Chase, whose economists warned that the climate crisis threatens the survival of humanity last month, has been the largest financier of fossil fuels in the four years since the agreement, providing over £220bn of financial services to extract oil, gas and coal.

Analysis of the 35 leading global investment banks, by an alliance of US-based environmental groups, said that financing for the companies most aggressively expanding in new fossil fuel extraction since the Paris agreement has surged by nearly 40% in the last year.

Using Bloomberg financial data and other sources to analyse loans, equity issuances and debt underwriting services from 2016 to 2019, the analysis is published on Wednesday in the Banking on Climate Change 2020 report.

It has been compiled by Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, Indigenous Environmental Network, Oil Change International, Reclaim Finance and Sierra Club.

Although the last 12 months has seen many investment banks announce financing restrictions on coal, Arctic oil and gas, and tar sands extraction, the report warns that the business practices of financial institutions are not aligned with the Paris agreement.

Alongside JP Morgan Chase, the US banks Wells Fargo, Citi and Bank of America dominate financing for fossil fuels, accounting for nearly a third of the £2.2tn of financial services since the Paris agreement, according to the report.

The report said big banks overall have increased their funding in the four years since Paris to companies with significant Arctic oil and gas reserves.

Fracking has been the focus of intense business activity by investment banks since the Paris agreement, with JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America leading £241.53bn of financing, much of it linked to the Permian basin in Texas.

The Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto Dominion led financing for tar sands crude oil projects in Alberta, north-west Canada, which have caused widespread damage to ecosystems.

The big-four Chinese banks have dominated financing for coal mining and coal power since the Paris agreement and have no policies restricting business practices.