Pages tagged "barclays"

Barclays cuts ties with mountaintop removal coal, says MTR will be “phased out” soon

Barclays was the world’s top lender to mountaintop removal coal firms prior to announcing new policy

Barclays PLC, the number one bankroller of mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining worldwide in 2013, has announced it is ending its financial support to the controversial practice. Barclays ruled out future financing for mountaintop removal projects and companies, citing MTR’s negative environmental and social impacts, as well as market forces. In its policy statement, Barclays also forecast that MTR will soon be “phased out” entirely, as a result of increased market and regulatory pressures. The Barclays announcement comes just weeks after U.S.-based PNC Financial announced its own policy restricting financing for MTR coal producers.

Full Barclays policy available here:

Reacting to the news of the announcement, Rainforest Action Network Senior Climate and Energy Campaigner Ben Collins issued the following statement:

“It’s a big deal when the world’s number one bankroller of mountaintop removal announces it has rescinded its support to this destructive practice. We’re going to monitor Barclays’s future financing decisions very closely to see how this policy is implemented, but overall the announcement is a very good step in the right direction.

“It’s also a powerful affirmation of what we’ve been saying for years to see Barclays predict that mountaintop removal will be ‘phased out’ as a result of both market and regulatory pressure. That stark assessment points to just how toxic and risky this practice has become in the eyes of the financial industry. However, our work is not done yet; we won’t declare victory until mountaintop removal ends. Not only does mountaintop removal literally destroy entire mountains, but it leaves widespread devastation in its wake for communities across Appalachia.

“Following this news, we will continue to exert pressure on laggard banks that put their financial support behind a practice that has no place in a civilized society. Banks like Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs should take note of the decision by Barclays and adopt their own policies to end financing for mountaintop removal.”

Barclays was number one worldwide in financing for mountaintop removal coal producers in 2013, as documented in the 2014 Coal Finance Report Card,“Extreme Investments, Extreme Consequences,” released by Rainforest Action Network, the Sierra Club, and BankTrack. In 2013, Barclays financed $550 million in loan and bond transactions for mountaintop removal producers, acting as lead arranger in seven of these transactions.

RAN has campaigned to push numerous banks to stop financing mountaintop removal coal mining. JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, BNP Paribas, UBS, RBS, Société Générale, and PNC Financial have all previously adopted policies restricting financing for MTR, under pressure from RAN and other groups. The 2015 Coal Finance Report Card will be released later this month.

For additional information on market trends in mountaintop removal finance, including summaries of various bank positions on MTR, please see the following background memo:


Claire Sandberg, (U.S.) 646-641-6431,

5 Photos That Show Why Barclays Bank Must Stop Financing Mountain Destruction

Barclays, the British banking giant, is the number one financier of companies engaged in mountaintop removal mining for coal.

Often referred to as MTR, mountaintop removal is a horrendous practice that destroys mountains, poisons water supplies and hurts communities. That's why more than 19,000 Rainforest Action Members have sent messages to Barclays demanding the drop MTR financing and is one reason protests confronted the banks annual share holder meeting in London this week.

Barclays executives should take a good long look at these photos. Maybe then they'll stop investing in mountain destruction.

Paul Corbit Brown MTR image

MTR uses explosives to literally blow off the tops of mountains and get the coal underneath.

MTR site

Hundreds of thousands of acres of beautiful mountains and forest are being destroyed in central Appalachia by companies using MTR.

Contaminated Stream

The rubble from mountaintop removal mining is then pushed into valleys where local streams and water sources are contaminated.

Contaminate Well Water

Hundreds of families have had their wells destroyed by nearby mining practices. Cancer, birth defects, heart and long disease and shortened life spans plague communities near MTR sites.

Polluted vs. Clean

The difference between contaminated and clean water can be stark. It is time for Barclays to get on the right side of history and stop financing companies that poison water.

Photos by Paul Corbit Brown.

From Appalachia to London, Barclays Bank Takes Heat for Coal Financing

There is nothing quite like giving one of world's biggest banks a bad day. A bad week is even better.

Today, protestors swamped Barclays' annual shareholder meeting in London, calling out all sorts of nefarious deeds committed by the bank: speculating on food prices, supporting tax havens, ridiculous executive bonuses and its outrageous financing of the world's dirtiest fuel, coal. BarclaysEagle

Our friends at World Development Movement showed up as well-dressed eagles to spoof the bank's logo and call Barclays out for being the world's largest financier of mountaintop removal coal mining (MTR) in Appalachia.

Paul Corbit Brown, an Appalachian native and president of Keeper of the Mountains, drove the message home when he testified at today's Annual General Meeting about how MTR goes beyond just leveling mountains. It poisons communities and causes devastating health problems wherever it is practiced.

Since last Thursday, Rainforest Action Network members have sent more than 19,000 messages to Barclays and demanded the bank immediately start moving away from financing mountain destruction.

Our pressure appears to be working. World Development Movement reports that Barclays has agreed to meet with Paul for a further discussion of MTR.

Photo Credit: World Development Movement

I'm Visiting Barclays Bank and I Need You to Back Me Up

Paul Corbit Brown MTR imageThis is a guest post by Paul Corbit Brown, president, Keeper of the Mountains.

Tomorrow, I’m visiting Barclays and I need you to back me up.

In 2013 Barclays gave $550 million in financial support, more than any other bank, to companies destroying my home of central Appalachia with mountaintop removal coal mining (MTR).

That's why I've traveled all the way to England to speak at Barclays' annual shareholder meeting. I want to ensure that the bank's leaders and shareholders know about the true scale of destruction caused by MTR.

Will you help make sure Barclays can’t ignore the devastation? Click here to tell Barclays to stop financing mountaintop removal coal mining!

MTR is destroying everything I love. More than just leveling mountains, it will pollute our water for countless generations. The health of all those around me is already suffering. Cancer, birth defects, lung disease, heart disease, and dramatically shortened life expectancies have sadly become normal in the communities where MTR is practiced.

The coal industry could not do its dirty work without the help of banks like Barclays. We need to make sure the bank and its shareholders hear that no corporation and no individual has the ethical right to profit from the destruction and sickness caused by MTR.

When people like us hold banks responsible for financing destruction, we can make a difference. We've already persuaded JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and BNP Paribas to move away from MTR financing.

Barclays bank's executive team will be under tough scrutiny at their shareholder meeting. If we act in unison today, we can ensure that the message I'm going to deliver to the meeting packs a powerful punch—and demands responsible and ethical action from the bank.

Tell Barclays to take responsibility for its investments and stop financing mountain destruction!

GFC-Paul-HeadshotPaul Corbit Brown is president of Keeper of the Mountains, a West Virginia-based foundation that aims to educate and inspire people to work for healthier, more sustainable mountain communities and an end to mountaintop removal. He is a photographer who has worked in more than a dozen countries and exhibited throughout the United States.

Barclays: The Biggest Banker of Mountaintop Removal Coal

This year’s grades for the banks that finance the worst coal companies are in, and they’re not pretty.

Financing companies that use mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining practices puts communities, the environment, and bank shareholders at risk. But last year, several banks continued to hand billions of dollars to top producers of mountaintop removal coal--earning themselves a big fat failing grade on our new report card—even while grassroots pressure has moved some of their competitors in the right direction.

The biggest failure is Barclays, the British banking giant and #1 financier of MTR coal last year.

Shame on Barclays

TAKE ACTION: Tell Barclays to stop financing the destruction of mountains and poisoning of communities for coal!

Coal financing isn’t rocket science, and the smart money is already getting out of MTR. By speaking out, you’ve made MTR financing a huge blemish for a big bank’s public image. Your activism has made U.S. and European banks, including JPMorgan Chase and BNP Paribas, cut ties with the worst MTR coal companies last year.

While some banks are learning that MTR coal is bad for business, today’s publication of our Coal Finance Report Card exposes Barclay's as the slowest bank to grasp that lesson. It is financing a public health and environmental disaster, blowing up mountains and poisoning water with waste.

But we can move Barclay’s just like we are moving JPMorgan Chase and BNP Paribas.

Let’s start by making today the day that Barclays realizes that financing MTR could be one of the biggest mistakes it ever made.  

Extreme Coal - No Longer Business as Usual

Extreme Investments

For the first time since we began publishing coal finance report cards five years ago, we have an encouraging trend to report: Major banks have begun making noise about the growing financial risk associated with climate change—and specifically associated with coal, the top global contributor to carbon pollution.

On top of that, major banks have begun to cut ties with the biggest mountaintop removal (MTR) coal companies. This progress has exposed a growing gap between banks that are still sinking billions into coal, and those that are cutting ties with the worst-of-the-worst in the coal industry.

Today, RAN, the Sierra Club, and BankTrack released our 2014 Coal Finance Report Card, “Extreme Investments, Extreme Consequences,” which grades U.S. banks on their performance and policies related to coal-fired power and mountaintop removal coal mining. We also uncovered the top financiers of contentious coal export schemes like those in the Pacific Northwest and coal trains that transport dusty coal across the United States.

All told, banks sank over $31 billion into the worst companies in the coal industry last year, with $6.5 billion coming from Citigroup, the top funder of coal-fired power. However, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo began to phase out financing for MTR, earning our first ever “B” grades, and marking a positive trend away from the extreme mining practice.

Meanwhile, UK-based Barclays increased its exposure to MTR, financing $550 million for mountaintop removal coal companies last year, more than any other bank.

Environmental damage from mining, transporting, and burning coal—including health hazards like air pollution and water contamination from spills—doesn’t just harm communities and the environment, it costs banks money. In the report card, we highlight examples of this in case studies about the rising cost of clean-up for water contamination at mine sites, increases in coal company bankruptcies, and money-losing coal-fired power plants.

Download the 2014 Coal Finance Report Card

Download the 2014 Coal Finance Report Card.

The report comes on the heels of analyst publications from Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Citigroup last year, each of which challenged the case for continued investment in the coal industry. These and other banks have acknowledged that power plant regulations, a potential price on carbon, and competition from renewable energy sources could “strand” assets such as coal mining, transport, and power generation facilities. With billions of dollars in loans on the line, it’s not a question of if climate risk will translate into financial risk, but when.

Ironically, these very same banks maintain deep financial ties to the riskiest and most environmentally destructive companies in the U.S. coal industry. As credit ratings for some coal mining companies sank farther below investment grade last year, banks continued to place bets on risky loans to the sector.

The report card warns banks that before the carbon bubble bursts onto their balance sheets, it will irreversibly destabilize the climate. So while we are happy to report that a few banks took the first steps to cut off financing to the worst-of-the-worst of the coal industry, the banking industry as a whole must now cut its losses and forge a path away from coal, before it’s too late for both them and us.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Barclays, the number one banker of mountaintop removal, to end its support of destroying mountains and poisoning communities for coal.

The Top 20 Climate Killer Banks

Bankrolling Climate Change coverA new report titled “Bankrolling Climate Change” calls out the top 20 banks that are financing the dirty coal industry. The top three “climate killers” will not come as much of a surprise: JP Morgan Chase, Citi, and none other than Bank of America top the list with $22 billion, $18.27 billion, an $16.79 billion invested in coal since 2005, respectively. As officials from around the world are assembling in Durban, South Africa to discuss ways to combat climate change, banks around the world are busy trying to figure out how they can profit off of making the climate crisis worse. In fact, between 2005 — the year the Kyoto Protocol went into effect — and 2010, funding for coal nearly doubled. Yes, you read that right: As the world’s leaders have been trying to get their act together and deal with the most urgent existential crisis humanity has ever faced, the biggest banks in the world have been busy sinking as much money as they can into the single largest cause of that crisis (emissions from coal-fired power plants are the biggest source of man-made carbon pollution). As the report notes, these banks are not unaware of the climate crisis. It’s just that they see it more as an opportunity for some great PR than a problem they have a stake in solving even if it means leaving money on the table. All of the top 20 coal bankrollers have made climate commitments that are drastically contradicted by where they’re actually investing their money. JP Morgan Chase claims it’s “Helping the world transition to a low-carbon economy”, for instance. Citi holds itself out as the “Most innovative bank in climate change” — which sounds more like Citi is gunning for Chase’s number one spot than trying to help solve the climate crisis, but who am I to quibble with how Citi chooses to word its greenwash. Bank of America has declared that “The most formidable challenge we face is global climate change.” A fittingly purposeless statement, given that BoA has invested $4.3 billion in the US coal industry, making it the single largest underwriter of America’s coal problem. Here is a chart showing which banks made the top 20, and the amount they’ve invested in companies that are polluting our communities and wrecking our climate:
Bank in billion Euro   Ranking
JP Morgan Chase 16,540 1
Citi 13,751 2
Bank of America 12,590 3
Morgan Stanley 12,117 4
Barclays 11,514 5
Deutsche Bank 11,477 6
Royal Bank of Scotland 10,946 7
BNP Paribas 10,694 8
Credit Suisse 9,495 9
UBS 8,217 10
Goldman Sachs 6,770 11
Bank of China 6,323 12
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China 6,182 13
Crédit Agricole / Calyon 5,637 14
UniCredit / HVB 5,231 15
China Construction Bank 5,110 16
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group 4,980 17
Société Générale 4,742 18
Wells Fargo 4,523 19
HSBC 4,432 20
Data provided by Profundo

An international coalition of NGOs came together to release this groundbreaking report, including urgewald, a German environmental organization; groundWork and Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, two South African social and environmental justice organizations; and BankTrack, an international network. RAN contributed research to the report. A full copy of the study with a ranking of all the researched banks can be downloaded here. The underlying data for this research were provided by Profundo economic research. They can be found here.

Who's Bankrolling AEP, the Coal Company Lobbying for More Coal?

Coal moneyAmerican Electric Power Company, more commonly known as AEP, has been in the news lately. The banks providing funds to this dirty energy purveyor haven't received as much scrutiny, however. Let's fix that, shall we? Earlier this month, AEP announced that upcoming EPA clean air regulations (which have now been announced) may mean that the company will need to close 25% of their coal fleet. This proclamation was of course meant to scare legislators into taking the EPA's power to enforce the Clean Air Act away. Then news broke that AEP is putting its money where its mouth is — lots of money.  AEP spent a reported $2 million lobbying in the 1st quarter of 2011. $2 million in just 3 months!!! The New York Times responded to AEP  in an editorial blasting the company for misleading the public about impacts of EPA regulations, bullying the agency, and failing to address real concerns about its aging coal fleet. The EPA also responded during a US Senate hearing by clarifying that most of AEP's plant closures won't be because of the EPA, they will be because AEP's fleet is too old to compete in energy markets. Over the past month, AEP has demonstrated that it is a coal company that is willing to lie to the public and spend millions to influence politicians and erode the ability of democratic institutions such as the EPA that were created to ensure clean air and water for all Americans. Which leads me to wonder, which banks are behind AEP? A quick look at AEP's financing shows that in the past 2 years (since June 2009) several banks have provided large sums of money in the form of bond underwriting to AEP. Some of the most interesting include*:
  • Barclays Bank provided $300 million
  • UBS provided $190 million
  • Morgan Stanley provided $175 million
  • Citi and JP Morgan Chase each provided $87.5 million
  • Wells Fargo and Credit Suisse each provided $75 million
All of these banks should cut ties with AEP. Financing a company like AEP that undermines democracy and burns climate-killing coal is irresponsible at best. * All research is sourced from Bloomberg

Banks Ranked and Spanked on Tar Sands

[caption id="attachment_5586" align="alignleft" width="250" caption="Illustration by Stefan Lorant"][/caption] As an ode to the  "rank 'em and spank 'em" strategy coined by our outgoing Executive Director Mike Brune, we proudly present the following roster of international banks backing expansion in the tar sands. The table below is based on credit extended underwritten by each bank to companies operating in the tar sands since 2007 according to Bloomberg. Restrictions at Bloomberg now prevent us from publishing deal-by-deal details to the web, but are available upon request if you leave your email in the comments. Each of these banks received letters from RAN, IEN and BankTrack late last year requesting information about how they are addressing the damage caused by tar sands development. Responses (or lack thereof) will help us identify which banks are serious about responsible banking, and which may need more convincing. Responses received to date are also linked in the table after the jump. UPDATE: There's been some questions about how these numbers are derived.  We have answers, following the table.

Rank Bank Response to RAN Loans (Million USD)*

1 RBC Yes $16,903

2 JP Morgan Chase No $13,895

3 Citi Yes $12,775

4 TD Securities Yes $12,043

5 CIBC No $10,467

6 Bank of America Yes $10,101

7 RBS No $7,544

8 Scotia Bank Yes $4,685

9 BMO No $4,467

10 Wells Fargo No $2,176

11 Barclays No $1,450

12 Société Générale No $936

13 HSBC Yes $667

14 BNP Paribas No $261

15 Intesa Sanpaolo No $250

16 Sumitomo No $186

17 Calyon No $119

18 ING Yes $119

19 KBC No $119

20 Mizuho No $111

21 Credit Suisse Yes $67

22 ANZ No $44

23 Mitsubishi UFJ No $44

24 Rabobank Yes $44

25 WestLB Yes $44

26 Standard Chartered PLC No $44
*Totals are based on underwriting league tables reported by Bloomberg. Totals are derived from loans to companies with significant operations in the tar sands. Specifically the companies listed below. Totals may not reflect actual lending. Totals represent the full value of loans where the bank acted as lead book-runner (also called managing underwriter, lead manager, etc...) . Where the bank was one of multiple lead book-runners, value is awarded pro-rata.  Here's the details from Bloomberg (look under "fixed income eligibility criteria"). Athabasca Oil Sands Corp Baytex Energy Trust Bonavista Energy Trust BP plc Bronco Energy Ltd Canadian Natural Resources Ltd Canadian Oil Sands Trust CanWest Petroleum Corp Cenovus Energy Inc Chevron Corp China National Petroleum Corp Connacher Oil & Gas Ltd ConocoPhillips Devon Energy Corp Enbridge Inc EnCana Corp Enerplus Resources Fund Exxon Mobil Corp Harvest Energy Trust Husky Energy Inc Imperial Oil Ltd Inter Pipeline Fund Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP Koch Resources LLC Korea National Oil Corp Marathon Oil Corp MEG Energy Corp Mocal Energy Ltd Murphy Oil Corp Nexen Inc Nippon Oil Corp Occidental Petroleum Corp Oilsands Quest Inc OPTI Canada Inc Paramount Resources Ltd Pembina Pipeline Income Fund Pengrowth Energy Trust Penn West Energy Trust Petrobank Energy & Resources Ltd Petro-Canada Royal Dutch Shell plc Sinopec Group StatoilHydro ASA Suncor Energy Inc Syncrude Canada Ltd Total SA TransCanada Corp UTS Energy Corp

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