Many environmentalists believe that they can make capitalism work in the interests of the planet and been promoting divestment from the fossil fuel corporations.
Bank holdings in “extreme” fossil fuels skyrocketed globally to $115bn during Donald Trump’s first year as US president, with holdings in tar sands oil more than doubling, a new report has found.
A sharp flight from fossil fuels investments after the Paris agreement was reversed last year with a return to energy sources dubbed “extreme” because of their contribution to global emissions. This included an 11% hike in funding for carbon-heavy tar sands, as well as Arctic and ultra-deepwater oil and coal.
US and Canadian banks led a race back into the unconventional energy sector following Trump’s promise to withdraw from Paris, with JPMorgan Chase increasing its coal funding by a factor of 21, and quadrupling its tar sands assets. Chase’s $5.6bn surge in tar sands holdings added to nearly $47bn of gains for the industry last year. Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto Dominion remain the biggest tar sands backers, with $38bn of holdings between them. The bulk of new “extreme” investments came in a doubling of loans and bonds to Canada’s government-backed tar sands industry, even though its success would be disastrous for climate mitigation efforts.
Support for coal among the 36 banks surveyed was also up by 6% in 2017. 14 European banks collectively increased their coal financing by more than $2bn last year, with HSBC the worst performer by far.