The world’s biggest 30 financial firms have provided at least US$740bn towards fossil fuel production during the past two years while lobbying to weaken sustainable finance policy, according to a climate think tank InfluenceMap.
Its highly critical analysis Finance and Climate Change: A Comprehensive Climate Assessment of the World’s Largest Financial Institutions, says the institutions funded the equivalent of 7% of their total primary financing, with US$697bn going to the oil and gas sectors and £42bn to coal.
A total of 29 of the institutions signed up to the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, pledging to set substantial 2030 decarbonisation targets and achieve net zero by 2050. China’s Ping An Group is the only one of the 30 not to have made this pledge. The institutions comprise 27 with banking arms, 25 with asset management businesses and two global insurers. Only 11 have set concrete 2030 climate targets across multiple sectors.
All 30 are members of industry associations that are lobbying to water down key EU, UK and US sustainable finance policies requiring transparency in the funding of environmentally damaging activities, including fossil fuels. The analysis cites BNP Paribas, AXA and Allianz as the few which engage positively on sustainable finance.
Of the firms, 15 are members of real-economy industry associations, including the US Chamber of Commerce and the American Gas Association, which the think tank claims are “key blockers of action on climate change” through their direct lobbying for fossil fuel interests. JP Morgan is identified as the biggest fossil fuel financier, providing US$81bn, while Citigroup was second, with US$69bn. The Bank of America was third, with US$55bn.
Only seven of the companies have drawn up plans to exit thermal coal in line with the UN’s 1.5°C guidelines.
"These global financial institutions have significant economic and political influence, and they are delaying action that is essential to respond to the climate crisis,” said InfluenceMap senior analyst Eden Coates. “There is a stark disconnect between what they say about climate change and what they're actually doing – particularly when it comes to pushing back on policymakers' attempts to align financial regulation with climate goals.”