Major banks join the anti-fossil ranks

18 December 2019

Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse have joined the growing list of financial institutions to tighten policies on fossil fuel financing.

Goldman Sachs has updated its environmental policy framework to include pledges to reduce financing that directly supports new thermal coal mines and upstream Arctic oil exploration and development.

Meanwhile Credit Suisse has announced it will stop financing the development of new coal-fired power plants.

“The bank has decided to no longer provide any form of financing specifically related to the development of new coal-fired power plants,” Credit Suisse said in a statement ahead of an investor day in December. “This is in addition to the bank’s existing policy of not providing any form of financing that is specifically related to the development of new greenfield thermal coal mines.

“This commitment also applies to cases where the majority of the use of proceeds is intended for the development of a new coal-fired power plant or a new greenfield thermal coal mine, respectively.”

Goldman Sachs said it was also targeting $750 billion for climate financing over the next ten years, including financing of clean energy and transport and sustainable food and agriculture.

Environmental groups Rainforest Action Network and the Sierra Club said that the revisions on fossil fuel financing make Goldman’s policy “the strongest among the big six US banks”, but was still behind those of European lenders. The move to rule out Arctic oil projects marks “a crucial first step, among US banks, on ending financing expansion of oil and gas,” the groups said in a joint statement.

A United Nations report last year said almost all coal-fired power plants would need to close by the middle of this century to help curb a rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the level scientists say is needed to stave off the worst effects of climate change.

 

 



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