In this fourth annual Coal Report Card, Rainforest Action Network, Sierra Club, and BankTrack evaluated the largest U.S. banks based on their financing of coal, which is the largest contributor to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
The banking sector accelerates global climate change through its “financed emissions,” the greenhouse gas emissions induced by bank loans,
investments, and financial services. A bank’s physical operations typically have a modest climate impact, but banks that finance coal-fired electric utilities or fossil fuel producers bear co-responsibility for the massive quantities of greenhouse gases emitted by these companies. Major banks therefore have financed emissions footprints that are much larger than their operational climate impacts and expose them to both reputational and financial risks.
As outrage at the country’s largest banks increases with the Occupy Movement and record bank customers move money to credit unions and local banks, RAN finds yet another reason customers should be wary of BoA. Our campaign briefing shines a light on the company as the country’s top financier of the coal industry, in turn, a leading contributor to climate change in the United States.
From the cradle to the grave, coal is a risky business. Each stage in the life cycle of coal– extraction, transportation and combustion–presents increasing health, environmental, reputational, legislative and financial risks.
Rainforest Action Network and the Sierra Club’s report card, Policy and Practice, ranks ten of the world’s largest banks on their financing of mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining projects and lending policies.