Banks are fueling the climate crisis.
Here’s the deal: Massive-scale burning of the earth’s resources, like precious forests and dirty fossil fuels, is driving our climate to a state of chaos.
And while the reducing, recycling, and reusing of everyday folks do add up, it’s the overall system and those at the top that are destroying our future. If we’re looking for people to blame, our fingers should be pointed at the corporations that exploit these resources for profit, more specifically, big banks.
Just 100 companies were responsible for more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions between 1988 and 2015. But fossil fuel companies can’t destroy the planet without outside help, and they get A LOT of help. Banks give money to fossil fuel companies so more coal, oil, and gas can be extracted, more pipelines can be built, and more money will line the pockets of a few corporate executives.
In our Banking on Climate Change report, we exposed the world’s biggest banks for directly funding the climate crisis. Since 2016, 35 banks have poured $2.7 trillion into fossil fuels. Big banks have epically failed to respond to the climate crisis. Fossil fuel finance is destroying the climate, and against all logic, compassion, and understanding of Indigenous rights, global banks are increasing funding for dirty energy.
Which bank is the #1 funder of fossil fuels?
It’s clear that banks must take responsibility and play a big part in initiating the just transition away from fossil fuels, and it’s up to us to push these banks to take necessary action. So we’ve started with the biggest and baddest of them all: JPMorgan Chase.
In fact, Chase is the world’s worst banker of climate chaos by FAR. Chase has dumped over a quarter TRILLION dollars into fossil fuels in the last four years alone, continuing to fuel the flames of climate destruction.
To put this in perspective, Chase’s overall financing of fossil fuels in 2016-2019 is a shocking 36% higher than the second-placed bank, Wells Fargo.
On top of that, JPMorgan Chase’s $102 billion in finance for fossil fuel expansion is 43% higher than that of Citi, in distant second place.
Chase violates Indigenous Rights.
Chase has been a consistent bad actor, funding fossil fuel expansion projects that devastate the environment and violate human rights, particularly Indigenous rights.
Indigenous peoples are among those experiencing impacts from a changing climate first and worst. At the same time, they are at the forefront of movements around the world to protect land, air, and water from fossil fuel production.
The banks supporting the fossil fuel industry have a responsibility to avoid financing projects and companies that violate Indigenous rights, including in particular treaty rights, religious rights and the right to require free, prior, and informed consent for development that impacts them. Unfortunately, JPMorgan Chase and other banks backed companies like Enbridge, which is trying to build the Line 3 tar sands pipeline despite explicit opposition by impacted Indigenous nations.
Chase must put people and planet over profits and respect Indigenous treaties and rights.
The Solution: Chase must defund climate change
And let’s be clear, Chase is capable of changing course. Over RAN’s history, we’ve seen massive corporations and banks shift gears to projects that put people and planet over profit. Not only can they do it, this is what needs to be done in order to ensure a livable future.
And it’s already happening. In February 2020, Chase released a new fossil fuel policy because of the pressure of RAN supporters and partners. Chase has cut back its funding of coal, dumped the financing of Arctic oil and gas projects, and demoted Lee Raymond, a known climate change denier, from his leadership position on the board of directors. But, this recent climate policy falls FAR short of what’s needed to prevent a climate crisis Chase has financed for decades.
It’s time for Chase to take responsibility for the climate destruction it’s fueled. Until it does, we’ll continue to make Chase bank synonymous with climate change: We’ll keep protesting at its branches, and we’ll keep building the people power to end profit-driven climate chaos.
Fossil fuel policies continue to be released, and these institutions know that the tide is changing. Even Chase’s own economists warn of “catastrophic consequences” if emissions aren’t slashed over the next 30 years. Banks are responsible for the climate crisis and should now listen carefully to the frontline and Indigenous communities who know what’s best for people and planet.