ShareAction: Big banks fund new oil and gas despite net zero pledges

Big banks are pumping billions into new oil and gas production despite net zero pledges, campaigners have said.

Banks including HSBC, Barclays and Deutsche Bank are still backing new oil and gas despite being part of a green banking group, ShareAction said.

Investors should force banks to demand green plans from fossil fuel firms before funding them, it said.

HSBC and Barclays said they were focused on achieving environmental goals.

“Net zero” means not adding to greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere by cutting and trying to balance out emissions.

If the Earth is to avoid damaging environmental effects, including more extreme weather, it needs to limit average global warming to below 1.5 degrees centigrade.

To achieve this, we need to get to net zero by 2050, experts have said.

As part of getting to net zero, the International Energy Agency has said there should be no new oil and natural gas fields.

But big banks are continuing to fund oil and gas expansion with billions of dollars, ShareAction said, despite being part of a UN-led group called the Net Zero Banking Alliance.

HSBC put an estimated $8.7bn (£6.4 billion) into new oil and gas in 2021, while Barclays put in $4.5 billion, and Deutsche Bank loaned $5.7 billion, the campaign group estimated.

The fossil fuel giants receiving the funding included Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP, and Saudi Aramco.

This is a big drop from 2020, when HSBC alone pumped more than $18 billion into new oil and gas, and there were big drops in funding across the board between 2020 and 2021, according to figures from consultancy Profundo.

ShareAction said this was due to banks focussing on providing pandemic-related loans to keep fossil fuel firms afloat during the pandemic, and that in 2021 funding returned to pre-pandemic levels. (BBC)

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