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LONDON: A report by NGO ShareAction says 25 European banks, all committed to net-zero goals, provided companies with US$55 billion last year to expand oil and gas production.

Since 2016 the banks have provided over US$400 billion to the oil & gas sector lead by HSBC (US$59 billion), Barclays (US$48 billion) and BNP Paribas (US$46 billion).

All but DZ Bank are members of the UN-convened Net Zero Banking Alliance and since joining it last year have provided US$33 billion to the oil & gas industry.

Prior to COP26 last November, the International Energy Agency (IEA) announced there could be no investment in new oil & gas fields if the world is to have a 50 percent chance of limiting warming to 1.5 Celsius over pre-industrial levels.

“If oil & gas demand decreases in line with 1.5C scenarios, prices will fall and assets will become stranded. On the other hand, if demand does not fall enough to limit global warming to 1.5C, the economy will suffer from severe physical climate impacts,” commented ShareAction Senior Research manager Xavier Lerin. “Either way, value will be destroyed for energy companies, banks and their investors.”

The 25 banks from first to last in terms of financing volume are: HSBC, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Société Générale, Deutsche Bank, Santander, Credit Suisse, Standard Chartered, UniCredit, ING, Intesa Sanpaolo, UBS, BBVA, Lloyds Banking Group, Commerzbank, NatWest, Nordea, Danske Bank, DZ Bank, CaixaBank, Crédit Mutuel, Rabobank and La Banque Postale.

“Last year shareholders were instrumental in pushing banks to adopt or strengthen restrictions on coal finance,” said Kelly Shields, senior officer for Banking Standards at ShareAction. “This year they need to replicate that success with oil & gas expansion by voting for robust shareholder resolutions and against inadequate ‘Say on Climate’ plans.”

In a related disclosure, a report by the Private Equity Stakeholder Project and LittleSis examines the role of companies and executives who it says continue to fund the fossil fuel industry: The Blackstone Group, Stephen A. Schwarzman; The Carlyle Group, David M. Rubenstein; KKR & Co., Henry Kravis; ArcLight Capital Partners, Daniel R. Revers; Apollo Global Management, Marc Rowan & Leon Black; Ares Management, Antony ‘Tony’ Ressler; Global Infrastructure Partners, Adebayo Ogunlesi; Kayne Anderson, Richard ‘Ric’ Kayne; Oaktree Capital, Bruce Karsh and Howard Marks; Warburg Pincus, Chip Kaye & Timothy Geithner; Riverstone Holdings, David M. Leuschen; and EnCap Investments, David B. Miller.

“The private equity industry largely evades public scrutiny, despite investing billions in fossil fuel investments that have spewed greenhouse gasses from pipelines, fracking operations and power plants across the globe,” noted Alyssa Giachino, a research director at Private Equity Stakeholder Project and co-author of the report.
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