Banks ‘invested $290bn in extreme fossil fuels since 2014’

In the last three years, global banks have directly or indirectly invested $290 billion (£227.8bn) in extreme fossil fuels. That’s according to a new report from the Rainforest Action Network […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

In the last three years, global banks have directly or indirectly invested $290 billion (£227.8bn) in extreme fossil fuels.

That’s according to a new report from the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), which says the financing of the most carbon intensive, financially risky and environmentally destructive parts of the sector is at odds with reaching international climate change targets.

These industries include extreme oil (tar sands, Arctic drilling and ultra-deepwater), coal mining, coal power and liquefied natural gas (LNG) export.

The report says the 37 major private banks it analyses funnelled $92 billion (£72.2bn) into extreme fossil fuels in 2014. This figure rose to $111 billion (£87.2bn) in 2015, then fell to $87 billion (£68.3bn) last year.

While this 22% drop over the last year is a move in the right direction, it says a major shift in investment policies is needed.

The report claims from 2014-2016, big banks poured $105.6 billion (£83bn) into extreme oil.

The Royal Bank of Canada invested $47.8 billion (£37.6bn) in tar sands, JPMorgan Chase led ultra-deepwater oil investment with $48.7 billion (£38.3bn) and Deutsche Bank spent $9.2 billion (£7.2bn) on Arctic activities.

Over the same period, major banks have financed coal mining to the tune of $57.9 billion (£45.5bn). The Bank of China is at the top of the list, with Deutsche Bank as the top Western banker investing in coal mining.

The report says despite there being no room in the global carbon budget for new coal power, its financing is on an upward trend in the last three years. It suggests big banks financed $74.7 billion (£58.7bn) of coal power, led by China Construction Bank, with JPMorgan Chase taking the place as the top Western investor in the sector.

JPMorgan Chase, also led the $51.6 billion (£40.5bn) investment in LNG export.