Banks to Measure Climate Emissions Resulting from Investments

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Rainforest Action Network statement on new initiative that moves banks to measure their emissions from investments and not just operations for first time
Tuesday, October 29, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO--This morning the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) and the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) announced a new initiative to help financial institutions measure emissions from lending and investment portfolios. The initiative comes less than a month after a new climate report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which called the warming of the climate system, in the form of unprecedented melting ice and temperature and sea level rises, “unequivocal.”  

In April, Rainforest Action Network released its fourth annual coal finance report card finding that in 2012 the banking sector financed $20.8 billion for the dirtiest coal companies, even as U.S. coal consumption for power generation fell 11 percent and as scientific evidence confirmed coal’s extreme impact on health and climate change. Earlier this year, RAN also released Bankrolling Climate Disruption, a report that included a full set of recommendations for banks on accounting and reporting financed emissions.

The following is a statement from Amanda Starbuck, Energy and Finance Program Director at Rainforest Action Network:

“Every year the banking sector accelerates global warming by underwriting the leading cause of climate emissions, the coal industry. It is a welcome and necessary step for banks to finally review their full impact on this global crisis.  

“It is a critical step forward for the country’s top banks to be measuring the emissions that result from their loans and investments. For this accounting tool to be significant in reducing climate emissions, however, banks and other financial institutions need to use it to inform future financing decisions, especially those that involve the fossil fuel and electric power industries.”

“The bulk of emissions that banks are responsible for stem from lending to and underwriting debt for carbon-intensive industries, like coal. These financed emissions dwarf the emissions caused through operational activities like staff travel and electricity used in buildings.


Read the Bankrolling Climate Disruption report:

Read the Extreme Investments, a coal finance report card on banks:


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: