British charity asks banks to stop financing coal-fired stations
Marrakech, Nov 16 (IANS) British charity Christian Aid on Wednesday slammed Britain’s four biggest banks for what it said was lack of preparedness in the face of climate change, calling on them to shift their customers’ money from ‘dirty to clean energy’.
In a new campaign, the charity has asked people to write to their bank demanding that their money be used to drive action on climate — and not fuel the problem.
Christian Aid’s analysis of the British banks, led by Senior Private Sector Advisor Ken Boyce, said: “Financial institutions themselves need to move much more quickly in scaling up investment in renewables while phasing out investments in fossil fuels.”
His assertions came as a prelude to the British government event on the role of Green finance on the sidelines of the ongoing 22nd session of the Conference of Parties (COP22) here.
The big four banks — Barclays, RBS, Lloyds and HSBC — have all signed the Paris Pledge for Action in which they affirmed their commitment to act in support of the realisation of the Paris Agreement’s goals.
“We tried to assess what concrete actions and commitments they are taking and gave them an overall grade,” an official statement quoting Boyce said.
He said the banks were still financing the building of coal-fired power stations which would lock countries into high carbon infrastructure, making it harder for them to meet their climate ambitions.
“They are still financing oil and gas companies far more than renewables. And they are reluctant to set measurable targets for scaling up support for renewables and phasing out support for fossil fuels.
“As the grave problems caused by climate change intensify, the financing of new fossil fuel projects such as these will become increasingly risky financially. Banks that fail to take these risks into account are failing to safeguard customers’ money.”
He added: “It’s no surprise to us that Legal & General have announced this innovative new climate investment fund. They were one of the top performing asset managers in our analysis, with a B grade, and it’s great to see forward thinking companies like Legal & General leading the way. We now need to see other financial institutions following suit.”
Christian Aid’s analysis found that Britain financial institutions are not moving quickly enough.
(Vishal Gulati is in Marrakech to cover COP22 at the invitation of Global Editors Network. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)