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Bank of America New Environment Initiative: Weak on Coal Means Weak on Climate

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A Statement From Rainforest Action Network
Monday, June 11, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO (6.11.2012)—Today, Bank of America announced a new environmental initiative, which includes a commitment to $50 billion over ten years for environmental investments. While the bank is focusing on energy efficiency (largely reducing emissions from its own consumption), renewable energy and energy infrastructure, transportation, and water and waste, the bank does not address its role in financing fossil fuels, like coal, which are the leading cause of climate emissions in the United States. The bank’s initiative comes the week before world leaders convene in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.    

In response to Bank of America’s new environmental business initiative, Amanda Starbuck, Director of the Energy and Finance Program at Rainforest Action Network, issued the following statement:

“Bank of America cannot have its cake and eat it too, we cannot applaud its climate and renewable energy commitments while the bank is also playing a leading role in financing the coal industry. Plain and simple, increasing support for renewable energy and not decreasing funding for coal will not do what’s needed to reduce emissions and protect the climate.   

“Bank of America’s commitment to renewable energy is a step in the right direction, however, the bank is simultaneously taking two steps back by continuing to underwrite the coal industry. The bottom line is we cannot reduce the emissions necessary to stem climate change with renewable energy funding alone, we must also curb our use of coal and Bank of America’s new environmental initiative makes no move to do that.

“Coal is the elephant in Bank of America’s environmental commitments. Between 2010 and 2011, Bank of America provided $6.4 billion in underwriting for U.S. coal.

“Bank of America finances climate and community pollution at every stage in the coal industry. It spends billions each year underwriting mountaintop removal coal mining companies and utilities that operate the dirtiest coal-burning power plants in the country. 

“It is clearly time for Bank of America to update its position on coal. Coal’s devastating impact on both climate and public health comes at a time when the profitability of both coal mining and coal-fired power generation is way down and presenting a clear financial risk for the bank.”

For more information on Bank of America’s coal financing, please visit: www.ran.org/bank-america

Bank of America’s new environmental initiative can be found here: http://mediaroom.bankofamerica.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=234503&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1704140&highlight=

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Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit: www.ran.org

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