Banks and Climate

If we are to have any chance of halting catastrophic climate change and reaching the Paris goal of limiting climate change to 1.5 degrees, there must be a complete phaseout of extreme energy and banks must implement policies against extreme fossil fuel funding. 

RAN is pushing the banking sector to cut financing to new and existing extreme fossil fuel projects. Those sectors are: extreme oil (tar sands, Arctic, and ultra-deepwater oil), coal mining, coal power, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) export. The report also explores bank failures when it comes to protecting human rights.

Our report, released along with BankTrack, Indigenous Environmental Network, Sierra Club, Honor The Earth, and Oil Change International reveals that the world’s biggest banks are continuing to fuel climate change through the financing of extreme fossil fuels, and they are funding them at a rate that will push us beyond the 1.5 degrees climate change limit determined by the Paris Climate Agreement. The report also explores bank failures when it comes to protecting human rights.

Read the 2019 Banking on Climate Change Report Card

Banks and Coal

In 2015, pressure from RAN and our allies prompted nine major U.S. and European banks to adopt broad-based commitments to reduce financing for the coal industry. 

This year, we will build on this momentum to push more banks to adopt similar policies and move leaders towards a rapid phase-out of financing for coal mining and power. With the Paris climate conference calling for the world to work towards a 1.5 degree climate target, an immediate halt to all coal infrastructure investment and development is urgently needed.

Human Rights and the Environment

Coal mining and power operations do not only have grave consequences for the climate. Many also violate fundamental human rights. These violations include forced resettlement, contaminating critical drinking water supplies, destroying the livelihoods that support communities, or responding to peaceful protests against environmental damage with violence. Moreover the global climate crisis is evolving into a human rights crisis, with tens of millions of people around the world already facing impacts from drought, storms and rising sea levels.

Banks and Human Rights

Published in 2011, the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights place clear responsibilities on global private banks to develop mechanisms to avoid contributing to human rights violations and to remedy abuses that occur. In light of the ongoing human rights abuses of some mining and power companies that RAN has reported on, banks must move swiftly to meet their basic human rights obligations.