“Putin’s war is funded through money from fossil fuels and these fossil fuels are causing climate breakdown as we speak,” said Svitlana Romanko, director of the Ukrainian NGO Razom We Stand.
Carbon bombs are fossil-fuel extraction projects identified by researchers to contain at least 1bn tonnes of climate-heating CO, triple the UK’s annual emissions. Russia is a hotspot, with 40 carbon bombs, 19 of them operated or developed by Russian companies backed by foreign finance. The companies are Gazprom, Novatek, Lukoil, Rosneft oil company and Tatneft. More than 400 foreign financial institutions had provided $130bn (£109bn) of support to the Russian companies – $52bn in investment and $84bn in credit.
Financial institutions in the US hold almost half the foreign investment in Russian carbon bomb companies, with 154 institutions holding $23.6bn. The largest combination of investment and credit – $10bn – was provided by JPMorgan Chase.
The biggest single investment in the Russian carbon bomb companies was the $15.3bn in Rosneft held by the Qatar Investment Authority, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.
The UK was third in the list of investing nations, with 32 financial institutions holding $2.5bn in investments. HSBC had the largest investment and credit total, at $308m.
Financial groups in Japan, Norway, Switzerland and the Netherlands also held significant investments, while Chinese and Italian institutions provided $45bn in credit between them.
Kjell Kühne, at Leave it in the Ground Initiative (Lingo), said: “This war has made really clear that, when you don’t care who you’re doing business with, it does translate into human suffering and lives lost. It’s also clear we should not be investing in new fossil fuel projects, as the International Energy Agency has confirmed. Anybody involved in these projects should be really questioning what they’re doing.”
Lingo said some financial institutions may have reduced their support for the Russian companies since the war started, but that many seemed to have adopted a wait-and-see approach.