KUALA LUMPUR (April 1): Some 60 of the biggest banks in the world pumped as much as US$742 billion in fossil fuel financing in 2021 alone.
The Banking on Climate Chaos report co-authored by Oil Change International, Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, Indigenous Environmental Network, Reclaim Finance, Sierra Club, and Urgewald released on Thursday (March 31) said the world’s largest commercial and investment banks have financed fossil fuels with a cumulative US$4.6 trillion.
The new Global Oil and Gas Exit List exposes the fact that upstream oil and gas expansion is remarkably concentrated: the top 20 companies are responsible for more than half of fossil fuel development and exploration.
The report showed that bank support for those companies is also remarkably concentrated: the top 10 bankers of those top 20 companies are responsible for 63% of the companies’ big-bank financing.
Each of those top ten bankers is formally committed to net zero by 2050: JPMorgan Chase, Citi, Bank of America, BNP Paribas, HSBC, Barclays, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Crédit Agricole, Société Générale.
According to the report, JPMorgan Chase is the world’s worst funder of climate chaos, with JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Mizuho, MUFG, and all 5 Canadian banks among those that increased their fossil financing from 2020 to 2021.
Across the board, fossil fuel financing remained dominated by four U.S. banks, as JPMorgan Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America together accounted for one-quarter of all fossil fuel financing over the last six years.
Chinese banks led coal mining financing, with China Merchants Bank and Ping An Group at the helm in 2021.
Citi and JPMorgan Chase provided the most financing for offshore oil and gas in 2021.
In total, big banks pumped US$52.9 billion into offshore oil and gas financing last year.
The report concluded that 2021 marked another year in which most of the world’s biggest banks failed to take the bold action needed to drastically reduce their contributions to climate chaos.
It said each dollar that banks put toward new fossil fuel projects and the companies behind them is incompatible with climate stability and their own net-zero commitments.
“Ending support for fossil fuel expansion is the next, urgent step toward banks zeroing out their fossil fuel financing on a 1.5°C-compatible timeline,” it said.