Rainforest Action Network published a report exposing how major U.S. banks are financing hundreds of billions of dollars worth of fossil fuel projects—even as they promote their purported commitment to a low-carbon future.
"The world's climate and energy scientists have set forth a clear mandate: In order to maintain a livable planet and prevent the global average temperature from increasing more than 1.5°C, we must rapidly and dramatically decrease greenhouse gas emissions," the RAN report—entitled Wall Street's Dirtiest Secret: How Fossil Fuel Expansion Depends on Big Bank Finance—states. "To meet this goal, the vast majority of oil, gas, and coal must stay in the ground," the publication continues. "We must phase out production of some oil and gas reserves before they are fully exploited. We must stop building new infrastructure that relies on fossil fuels."
The top six U.S. banks financed $445 billion to the top 100 companies expanding in oil, gas, and coal globally since the Paris climate agreement," and that financing from the institutions—JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citi, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs—"accounts for a whopping 33% of the funding provided"
Virtually every single one of the world's top banks by assets continues to fund fossil fuel expansion. Many banks justify business-as-usual financing to their fossil fuel clients by assuring the public that they are working with their clients to transition away from fossil fuels. But global banks' top fossil fuel clients amount to a rogues' gallery of bad actors. The clients—including Exxon, Saudi Aramco, BP, Shell, and TotalEnergies—not only are not transitioning away from fossil fuels, these companies are some of the world's biggest expanders.
Paddy McCully, senior analyst at Paris-based Reclaim Finance, said in a statement that "U.S. banks lack policies even to stop finance to the companies expanding coal mines and power..."
RAN research manager April Merleaux said in a statement, "Companies aiming for a sustainable future must reconcile their aspirations with their profit motives."