Investors are pressuring European banks to stop financing new fossil fuel projects

A group of investors representing more than $1.5 trillion in assets under management sent a petition on February 7 to five of Europe’s largest banks, asking them to stop lending to fossil fuel companies by the end of 2023.

ShareAction — an investment group with a website situation Its vision is “a world where the financial system serves our planet and its people” by driving change until high standards of responsible investment are “adopted globally”.news statement.

According to ShareAction, each of the 30 investors wrote to at least one of five European banks: Barclays, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Deutsche Bank and Societe Generale. Twenty of them he wrote to all five of him.

The letter expressed concern that “bank cooperation in the development of new oil and gas fields could jeopardize the global path to net zero,” adding that it “could slow down Europe’s renewable energy revolution.” “are more important than ever,” the statement explained, “because of the increasing uncertainty of energy supplies following the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“These investor-backed letters should serve as a wake-up call to banks that have made net-zero commitments,” ShareAction’s Jeanne Martin said in a statement.

Each of the five letters sent to each bank contained the same wording and was signed by 22 to 27 investors, depending on the recipient.

1.5 degrees Celsius

Letter to Barclays (pdf) called on the bank to “stop direct financing of new oil and gas fields by the end of 2023 at the latest to demonstrate its commitment to addressing the climate crisis and limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. bottom.

The reference to “1.5 degrees Celsius” brings to mind the International Energy Agency (IEA) recommendations for energy investors issued in May 2021. Roadmap to net zero emissions by 2050This guidance supports the objectives of the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The pact includes limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“The road to net zero is narrow, but still achievable,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol told Reuters at the time. “If we want to reach net zero by 2050, we need no more investment in new oil, gas and coal projects.”

Barclays is Europe’s second largest lender to the top 50 oil and gas expanders, offering $48 billion between 2016 and 2021, according to ShareAction. Over the same period BNP Paribas ranked third with $46 billion, followed by Crédit Agricole, Societe Generale and Deutsche Bank in fourth ($34 billion), fifth ($34 billion) and sixth ($28 billion) respectively. ) was.

according to In a letter to The Independent, a Barclays spokeswoman said: “As one of the first banks to set an ambition to be net zero by 2050, tackling climate change is an urgent and complex task. It is clear.”

Barclays believes it can make the “biggest difference” by working with and funding clients who are actively engaged in transitioning their business practices to a low-carbon economy. are doing.

BNP Paribas responded that it “announced new targets last month to ‘accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy'”, including ending funding for new oil and gas exploration and production. will beReuters report.

Similarly, Crédit Agricole has already stopped financing new oil projects and says it plans to be carbon neutral by 2050.

Deutsche Bank said in an email reply that it is “focused on helping customers transform to be carbon neutral,” according to Reuters. He added that it was significantly reduced.

ShareAction has so far been successful in its endeavors. In a letter sent to the bank, the investment group said in December 2022 that the bank would “not provide new loans or, in response to investor engagement, capital market financing… new oil and gas fields.” to the field and related infrastructure”.

The letter further states that so far “eleven of Europe’s 25 largest banks, including BBVA, ING, Lloyd’s Banking Group and Unicredit, have established some form of asset lending limit on new oil and gas. There are.”

from NTD News