Monday, October 5, 2015
Contact: Blair FitzGibbon, 202-503-6141
Citigroup Announces Financing Cuts for Global Coal Industry;
Becomes Second Major Bank to do so After Bank of America
Rainforest Action Network Pushes for New Global Banking Trend, Urges Halt to All Coal Financing
New York – Citigroup today released a new policy to cut its lending to the global coal mining industry. The bank updated its environmental policy framework, stating that it had begun to cut its credit exposure to coal mining and that “going forward, we commit to continue this trend of reducing our global credit exposure to coal mining companies.”
This is the second major bank to cut financing for coal mining this year after Bank of America announced a similar policy in May, following years of campaigning by Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and allied groups. Europe’s third largest bank Crédit Agricole also adopted a similar commitment earlier this year, under pressure from European organizations. Citigroup’s move follows the launch of the Paris Pledge this summer, a global coalition of over 130 organizations calling on the banking sector to end its support for coal mining and coal-fired power prior to the Paris Climate Conference this year.
“We are encouraged to see Citigroup begin to move away from lending to coal mining,” said Lindsey Allen, Executive Director of RAN. “But reducing credit exposure is only a partial step forward. We urge Citigroup and Wall Street laggards such as Morgan Stanley to cut all financing ties to both coal mining and coal-fired power.”
Last month, RAN launched a new campaign calling on Morgan Stanley to end its financing for coal. And this Friday, activists will hold a nationwide day of action to spotlight the bank’s continued financing ties to some of the world’s most carbon-intensive and socially destructive coal mining and power companies. Morgan Stanley is the latest target in a series of campaigns by RAN since 2000 to hold major U.S. banks accountable for the environmental, human rights, and climate impacts of their financing decisions.
“With Bank of America, Crédit Agricole, and now Citigroup withdrawing support for coal mining, this announcement shows major momentum away from financing coal by the banking sector,” said Allen.
The Bank of America announcement in May followed four years of campaigning by RAN and other groups. This time, Citigroup moved swiftly to avoid a campaign ahead of December’s climate negotiations in Paris. Financing policy changes at both banks acknowledged that the scale of the challenge posed by climate change calls for the financial sector to transition away from financing high-carbon energy sources in addition to scaling up financing for low-carbon energy.
Earlier today, Citigroup, the parent company of Citibank, committed to take a significant, though partial step away from banking coal. The company updated its environmental policy statement, stating that it had begun to cut its credit exposure to coal mining and that “going forward, we commit to continue this trend of reducing our global credit exposure to coal mining companies.” This policy change makes Citigroup the third global bank to commit to broad industry-wide cuts to coal mining finance this year, and the first to do so since the launch of the global Paris Pledge calling on banks to end financing for coal mining and coal-fired power.
Overall, the policy change is a positive one, signaling that Citigroup is moving away from lending to an industry that is incompatible with a low-carbon future and a major contributor to climate change. However, Citigroup’s policy change leaves some major loopholes and unanswered questions:
- It is incomplete, covering only part of Citigroup’s banking relationships with coal mining companies – This commitment to reduce its “credit exposure” commits Citigroup to reduce corporate lending to coal companies, but not the bank’s continued involvement with the industry through issuing bonds and shares. This leaves a big loophole for the bank to continue to underwrite new debt and equity for coal mining companies.
- It lacks a clear timeline and phase-out commitment – Although the bank states that it has already begun to reduce its exposure to coal mining, reducing exposure is not the same as ending it. RAN will be monitoring the bank’s participation in transactions with coal mining companies closely to assess how this commitment is moving the bank towards phasing out its lending involvement with coal mining altogether.
- It does not address the bank’s financing relationships with coal-fired power – Last year, Citigroup financed $2.5 billion for the largest operators of coal power plants in the world. The bank’s policy change is silent on these transactions, a key gap, especially after Crédit Agricole announced significant cuts to coal power financing last week.
With less than two months before the Paris climate conference, we’re long past the time for incremental steps away from coal. It’s time for banks to stop financing it, period. As Anote Tong, President of the low-lying island nation of Kiribati wrote in August, the development of new coal mines “undermines the spirit and intent of any agreement we may reach…To avoid catastrophic climate change, we must leave the vast bulk of carbon reserves in the ground.”
Bottom line, time is running out for Citigroup’s competitors on Wall Street, including Morgan Stanley, to get on the right side of history on climate and coal by cutting ties to coal mining and coal-fired power.
Last week, we launched our campaign to pressure Morgan Stanley to stop cashing in on coal.1 Thanks to your action, we have their attention. Now it’s time to up the ante. Next Friday, October 9, we’ll be rallying at a Morgan Stanley branch near you.
Will you join us?
What: Rally at Morgan Stanley!
When: Friday, October 9
Where: A Morgan Stanley branch near you
We know pressure works: Just this year, you successfully pushed Bank of America to drop coal mining after a four-year RAN campaign.2 Here at RAN, we’ve been working behind the scenes to push Wall Street banks to meet or exceed Bank of America’s policy, and we’ve seen positive signs. But Morgan Stanley continues to finance coal’s worst of the worst.
Conducted half a billion dollars worth of coal deals in 2014 — and also banks Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private sector coal mining company.
Financed $1.2 billion for the largest coal fired power plant operators in the world last year — including RWE, Europe’s largest single emitter of carbon dioxide.
Continues to finance mountaintop removal coal mining, at a time when eleven of Morgan Stanley’s competitors have committed to cut financing for this horrific practice.
Coal hurts communities and kills the climate. Rally next Friday: Tell Morgan Stanley to drop it!
For fifteen years, RAN and activists like you have been holding the U.S. banking sector accountable for its environmental and human rights impacts. Together, we’ll make Morgan Stanley the next bank to commit to dropping coal.
1. "Five Reasons Why Morgan Stanley is RAN's Next Target Bank on Coal Finance," Rainforest Action Network, September 22, 2015
2. Rainforest Action Network, "Bank of America Campaign Timeline", May 6, 2015
America’s public lands are being sold at bargain prices for oil, coal and gas extraction — making the world’s wealthiest companies richer, and making the world’s climate crisis worse.
Some of the world’s richest energy companies — like ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, and Arch Coal — are exploiting and degrading America’s public lands and offshore waters, causing serious harm to the health of communities and sending massive carbon pollution into the atmosphere through increasingly extreme extraction methods. Today, more than 65 million acres of public lands are already leased to the fossil fuel industry — that’s 55 times the size of Grand Canyon National Park! Mining, drilling, and fracking for coal, oil, and gas on publicly owned lands accounts for an astonishing one-quarter of the United States’ climate change emissions.
The federal government enables this destruction at a tremendous cost to the U.S. taxpayer by selling off our national forests, grasslands, deserts, oceans, and sacred heritage sites for pennies on the dollar — incredibly, for as little as $2 an acre. The antiquated and opaque federal fossil fuel leasing program transfers vast amounts of public wealth into private hands by auctioning off public lands and offshore waters for corporate profit.
Today, Rainforest Action Network is releasing a groundbreaking new report, Public Lands, Private Profits, that pulls back the curtain on this corporate giveaway of America’s treasured public lands.1 For example, just 15 huge fossil fuel companies — such as Shell, Chevron and BP — control 36% of leased federal land. These “Filthy 15” dirty energy corporations generate millions of dollars of profit every year by abusing our shared national resources, shaping our environmental future for generations to come. Between them, they’re responsible for a horrific legacy of environmental disasters: offshore oil spills, explosions, pipeline ruptures, and household water contamination, resulting in multi-million dollar settlements.
President Obama has the constitutional authority to issue an Executive Order to immediately end the outdated practice of fossil fuel leasing on public lands and offshore waters. With a stroke of his pen, he could stop bankrolling wealthy energy corporations, prevent environmental destruction, preserve the heritage of Indigenous sacred sites, and slow the disastrous effects of climate change. He could keep a staggering 450 billion tons of carbon pollution out of the atmosphere — almost half of all potential emissions from remaining U.S. fossil fuels.2 By contrast, the president’s Climate Action Plan, if fully implemented, would keep less than 6 billion tons of carbon out of the air.3 If President Obama wants a truly lasting climate legacy, he should end fossil fuel leasing on public lands.
Two weeks ago, RAN and more than 400 national allies delivered a letter to the White House calling for President Obama to stop the corporate giveaway of public lands and become a real leader on climate change.4 Now the president needs to hear from you. Please stand with us! Add your voice.
1. Public Lands, Private Profits, Rainforest Action Network, September 2015
2. "The Potential Greenhouse Gas Emissions of U.S. Federal Fossil Fuels", EcoShift Consulting, Center for Biological Diversity, and Friends of the Earth, August 2015
3. "President Obama’s Climate Action Plan: 2nd Anniversary Progress Report", The White House, June 2015
4. "President Obama Urged to End Fossil Fuel Leases on Public Land", Inside Climate News, September 14, 2015
Rainforest Action Network released a new report today about the dirty energy corporations that are profiting from the broken public lands fossil fuel leasing system in this country. It's called Public Lands, Private Profits, and from it, here are five things you need to know:
To address the climate crisis in front of us today, we have to keep a vast majority of fossil fuels in the ground. Leaving coal, oil and gas in the ground on public lands would keep 450 billion tons of climate change gases out of the air.
Our natural resources and shared assets are being given away for pennies on the dollar. An acre of federal land can be leased for as little as $2 an acre. The federal fossil fuel leasing program is out of date and does not meet our modern financial or environmental obligations. We need systematic change that addresses the issue holistically, rather than the lease-by-lease practices administered by the Department of the Interior.
The corporate culture is dangerous & corrupt. The corporate culture of the top leaseholders of public lands and waters shows a track record of corruption, violation of Indigenous sacred sites, environmental destruction, and evading the already low fees paid to the U.S. government and us — the people. Nothing is sacred to these dirty energy companies, not even internationally designated areas. There are no boundaries to where these companies will operate and destroy.
The “Filthy 15”, dirty energy companies, own 36% of the leased federal lands and offshore waters. Supermajors like BP, Shell, and ConocoPhillips are destroying our natural resources and making millions from the profits.
President Obama has the ability to stop the corporate giveaway of public lands and waters, preserve cultural heritage sites, reduce the threats of climate change and environmental disasters, and conserve wild places by issuing an executive order to end the leasing of federal lands for fossil fuel extraction.
EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: Monday 9/28/15 at 10 AM EST
Blair FitzGibbon, (202) 503-6141
Ruth Breech, Rainforest Action Network, 415-238-1766 (cell), 415-659-0538 (desk)
New Report Exposes the Top Energy Companies Involved in the Federal Public Lands Giveaway
Report names the largest leaseholders of U.S. public lands and documents their dangerous corporate culture
San Francisco — A week after a broad coalition of environmental, labor and human rights organizations met with White House advisors to call on President Obama to end the federal leasing of publicly owned carbon reserves to corporations, a new report issued today by Rainforest Action Network (RAN) calls out the top dirty energy companies involved in fossil fuel extraction on America’s public lands.
The report compiles the top federal leaseholders in each of three fossil fuel arenas: coal mining, onshore oil and gas drilling, and offshore oil and gas drilling. These fossil fuel companies generate millions in profit each year from exploiting these shared national resources, while causing widespread and expensive environmental damage which becomes the responsibility of the American public.
The report details the environmental destruction, corporate giveaway and contributions to climate change from companies like Shell, ExxonMobil and Peabody Energy. This report comes on the heels of the national Public Lands Day, Saturday, September 26. Nationally, over 175,000 people volunteered across the country to care for and maintain these irreplaceable lands.
Ending the federal leasing program would keep our public lands accessible for generations and take 450 billion tons of carbon emissions out of the air. Over 400 groups united to deliver the letter last week, urging President Obama to use Executive Authority to end the program.
The federal leasing program has been under scrutiny through Congressional investigations and scathing reports by the Government Accountability Office. The program provides loopholes that support the mining of coal in the Powder River Basin and maximizing profits for exports to Asia. Offshore drilling in the Arctic, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic fall under the jurisdiction of this program and come against a raging public outcry to end new leases.
Many of these “Filthy 15” companies are flying under the radar of government regulation and enforcement. The federal leasing program has produced highly questionable business relationships with Cloud Peak Energy, Cobalt and Angolan based Sonangol, and even the Mormon Church.
“We are seeing energy companies making millions off the public land giveaway. These companies have well documented track records of environmental destruction, violations of Indigenous sacred sites, systematic evasions of royalty payments, and passing on the massive clean up costs associated with their operations to the public. This is the worst of the worst,” said RAN campaigner and report co-author, Ruth Breech.
“It’s time for these companies to take responsibility. While the costs of coal and oil are low, energy companies could stop drilling and mining on public lands and use this as an opportunity to transition to sustainable and more lucrative energy sources," Breech continued.
When President Obama issues an Executive Order to end the federal fossil fuel leasing program, this would end new leases for coal, oil and gas on public lands and offshore waters.
America’s publicly owned lands and offshore waters are being sold at bargain prices for private fossil fuel extraction — making the world’s wealthiest companies even richer while driving the world’s climate deeper into crisis.
Rainforest Action Network has compiled the top federal leaseholders in each of three fossil fuel arenas: coal mining, onshore oil and gas drilling, and offshore oil and gas drilling. Dubbed here as the “Filthy 15” energy corporations, these fossil fuel companies generate millions in profit each year off of our shared national resources while damaging our environmental legacy for generations to come.
Some of the wealthiest energy companies — ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, and Arch Coal — are exploiting and degrading millions of acres of America’s public lands and offshore waters, causing serious harm to the health of communities and sending massive carbon pollution into the atmosphere through increasingly extreme extraction methods. Mining, drilling, and fracking coal, oil, and gas on publicly owned lands already accounts for roughly 25% of climate change emissions from the United States (U.S.).
The federal government enables this destruction at a tremendous cost to the U.S. taxpayer by selling off our national forests, grasslands, deserts, oceans, and sacred heritage sites for pennies on the dollar. The antiquated and opaque federal fossil fuel leasing program, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, transfers vast amounts of public wealth into private hands by auctioning off public lands and offshore waters for corporate profit.
President Obama can immediately and unilaterally stop the bankrolling of wealthy energy corporations, prevent environmental destruction, preserve the heritage of Indigenous sacred sites, and slow the disastrous effects of climate change by ending the outdated practice of fossil fuel leasing on public lands and offshore waters.
Scientists agree that in order to stay within the global carbon budget and avoid dangerous warming, a majority of all proven coal, oil, and gas reserves must stay in the ground, and fossil fuel combustion must end by mid-to-late-century.
- America’s public lands and waters are being given away to some of the wealthiest energy companies in the world for as low as $2 an acre. These companies have long track records of corruption, violation of Indigenous sacred sites, severe health impacts on communities, environmental destruction, evading payments, and jeopardizing the future of our climate.
- If President Obama wants to establish a truly lasting climate legacy, he can and should issue an executive order to stop leasing for fossil fuels on our public lands and offshore waters.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
CONTACT: Laurel Sutherlin, firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-246-0161
Response by Lindsey Allen, Rainforest Action Network executive director to Hillary Clinton’s announced opposition to Keystone XL Pipeline Project
Tuesday, September 22, 2015 (San Francisco) — In response to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s announcement today that she opposes the Keystone XL pipeline, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) Executive Director Lindsey Allen issued the following statement:
"We are encouraged to see that grassroots organizing, peaceful direct action, and common sense has moved Hillary Clinton from being ‘inclined to support’ the KXL pipeline to vocal opposition of this outdated, short-sighted, dirty energy project.
"The KXL pipeline was all set to be yet another rubber stamped, fossil-fuel time bomb. Now it is an example of how people power can change business as usual — and it is further evidence of the growing movement to Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground. Not in 2050, not in 2030, not in 2020 — but today.
"It's time for President Obama to fully commit to a clean energy future and finally reject the KXL pipeline once and for all.”
In 2013, Rainforest Action Network joined with CREDO Action and the Other 98% to launch the Keystone Pledge of Resistance. Almost 100,000 people have committed to engage in non-violent civil disobedience, if Obama signals he’ll approved the pipeline. In organizing the Pledge, RAN trained over 450 “action leads” to organize these actions and saw more than 3,000 trained to participate in peaceful, direct action to stop the pipeline.
We’re three months away from the crucial Paris climate conference, and some major U.S. banks have been taking the lead and committing to get out of coal.1 Here at Rainforest Action Network, we’ve been working behind the scenes to push Wall Street banks to drop coal across the board. We’ve seen positive signs from a number of banks. But in the meantime, we’ve also seen Morgan Stanley continue to finance coal’s worst of the worst.
Morgan Stanley has been banking the global coal industry’s worst corporations for years—and they refuse to face the realities of climate change. Morgan Stanley:
Conducted half a billion dollars worth of coal deals in 2014.2
Has a long-standing relationship with Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private sector coal mining company, which produced a quarter billion tons of coal last year.3
Financed $1.2 billion for the largest coal fired power plant operators in the world last year—including RWE, Europe’s largest single emitter of carbon dioxide.4
Continues to finance the horrific practice of mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining—literally blowing off the tops of mountains to get at the coal inside, destroying ecosystems, and poisoning communities in beautiful rural Appalachia. Meanwhile, eleven of Morgan Stanley’s competitors have committed to cut financing for MTR.
For fifteen years, RAN and activists like you have been holding the U.S. banking sector accountable for its environmental and human rights impacts. Most recently, you successfully pushed Bank of America to drop coal mining after a four-year RAN campaign.5 Earlier this year, Crédit Agricole, the third-biggest bank in Europe, also adopted a major new coal policy. It’s past time for Morgan Stanley and the rest of Wall Street to meet and exceed these pledges by dropping financing for coal mining and coal power.
In the run-up to December’s vital climate conference in Paris, RAN has joined with more than 130 climate organizations worldwide to call on the global banking sector to end financing for coal mining and coal-fired power.6 We’re seeing a broad call for a comprehensive transition away from fossil fuels, from everyone from communities on the frontlines of climate change to the world’s elected officials. This is a make-or-break moment for the global banking sector to do its part in moving us toward a post-carbon economy. With the Paris climate conference less than three months away, it’s time for U.S. banks to drop coal once and for all.
1. "Bank of America Backs Away from Funding Coal Mining," Huffington Post, May 6, 2015
2. Rainforest Action Network, 2015 Coal Finance Report Card, p. 34
3. "Peabody Energy Announces Results For The Year Ended December 31, 2014”, Jan. 27, 2015
4. Rainforest Action Network, 2015 Coal Finance Report Card, p. 40
5. Rainforest Action Network, "Bank of America Campaign Timeline", May 6, 2015
6. Paris Pledge, http://dotheparispledge.org/
Embargoed for: September 22, 2015
Contact: Blair FitzGibbon, 202-503-6141
Morgan Stanley Pressured to Drop Coal Financing
Rainforest Action Network Announces Campaign as Next Major Bank Targeted Since Bank of America Coal Milestone
San Francisco – Today, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) announced that Morgan Stanley is the next major investment bank being targeted with a public campaign to demand that the bank commit to stop financing coal mining and coal-fired power.
“Morgan Stanley has longstanding financing relationships with some of the worst offenders from the global coal mining industry, including Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private sector coal mining company,” said Ben Collins, Senior Research and Policy Campaigner at RAN. “Last year alone, the bank financed $477 million for coal mining.”
Morgan Stanley continues to finance top producers of mountaintop removal coal, even as eleven of its competitors have committed to cut financing for the practice. The bank also financed $1.2 billion in 2014 for the largest operators of coal-fired power plants in the world such as RWE, Europe’s largest single emitter of carbon dioxide.
For fifteen years, RAN has been holding the U.S. banking sector accountable for its environmental and human rights impacts, most recently campaigning against Bank of America’s coal financing. Earlier this year, Bank of America and Credit Agricole both adopted new policies that took major steps away from financing coal. Now RAN is demanding Morgan Stanley and the rest of Wall Street meet and exceed these commitments by adopting comprehensive policies to end financing for coal mining and coal fired power.
In the lead up to the Paris climate conference in November, RAN has joined with over 120 other civil society groups partnered in the Paris Pledge that calls on the global banking sector to end financing for coal mining and coal-fired power. Global political and civil society leaders have called for a rapid transition away from fossil fuels. This year is becoming the make or break moment for global banks to decide how they will choose to invest in the future of energy.