A new report published today revealed that 35 global banks collectively provided over $2.7 trillion in financing fossil fuels in four years since the Paris Climate Agreement was adopted in December 2015.
The report styled "Banking on Climate Change 2020" said such financing has increased in each of the past three years.
While the "Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°" of the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has shown that we need to rapidly reduce global carbon emissions if we are to avert the most severe consequences of the climate crises, these findings reveal that the business practices of the world's major banks continue to be aligned with climate disaster.
Banking on Climate Change 2020 was released by Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, Indigenous Environmental Network, Oil Change International, Reclaim Finance, and the Sierra Club, and endorsed by over 240 organisations from around the world.
The report added up lending and underwriting to 2,100 companies across the coal, oil and gas sectors globally over the past four years.
It also found that fossil fuel financing continues to be dominated by the big US banks — JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi, and Bank of America.
These four banks together account for a staggering 30 percent of all fossil fuel financing from the 35 major global banks since the Paris Agreement was adopted.
JPMorgan Chase has provided $271 billion — over a quarter of a trillion dollars — in fossil financing since the Paris accords.
That figure not only places JPMorgan Chase as the #1 fossil fuel bank in the world but out distances second place Wells Fargo by a 36 percent margin. Their $271 billion also represents a full 10 percent of the total fossil financing from all 35 banks studied in the report.
Furthermore, JPMorgan Chase is the most aggressive funder in the most dangerous and harmful categories over the last four years — leading in fossil fuel expansion, Arctic oil and gas, offshore oil and gas, and fracking.
RBC of Canada has financed $141 billion to fossil fuels over the same period. This makes it the worst fossil banker in Canada, leading other Canadian banks by more than a third.
In Europe, Barclays was cited as the worst, outpacing other European banks by a 36 percent margin.
Barclays poured $118 billion into fossil fuels from 2016-2019 — though BNP Paribas was Europe's biggest fossil funder in 2019. Moreover, BNP Paribas has been the worst fossil bank in France in the four years since the Paris Agreement, by a 56 percent margin.
MUFG, the worst banker of fossil fuels in Japan, provided $119 billion in fossil fuel financing during this period, while China's worst fossil fuel bank, Bank of China, funneled $84 billion in fossil fuels overall and was a major funder of coal in particular.
The report also tracks funding for fossil fuel expansion by aggregating bank financing for 100 companies aggressively planning new coal, oil, and gas extraction and related infrastructure. Of the $2.7 trillion in fossil fuel finance, $975 billion went to these companies. Financing for these top 100 expanders skyrocketed 40 percent from 2018 to 2019.