Systemic response required as more banks back away from coal
TODAY – Fukuoka (Japan) – Finance ministers and central bankers representing 90% of the global economy (the “G20”) will meet under increasing pressure to regulate and prepare financial markets for the threat of climate breakdown.
“Overall the financing from commercial banks and development banks from G20 member countries continues to be aligned with climate disaster. These institutions are pumping money into projects which will rocket emissions way past the Paris Agreement goals and will only accelerate climate breakdown.” Brett Fleishman, Director of Climate Finance Campaigns at 350.org said.
“Contrary to any common sense, financing for new coal, oil, and gas projects has been on the rise since the Paris Agreement. The ministers and bankers present have a responsibility to turn this around and to tell citizens across the world how they’re going to do so.” Sisilia Dewi, Indonesia Team Lead at 350.org said.
U.S., Japanese, Chinese, European, and Canadian banks have financed fossil fuels with $1.9 trillion since the Paris Agreement was adopted (2016–2018) *RAN 2019 Banks Report Card.
“This year’s host country, Japan, is one of the primary financiers of coal development globally and the funding policies of its major commercial banks like Mitsubishi UFJ, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Mizuho go against Japan’s climate goals and targets.” Shin Furuno, East Asia Finance campaigner at 350.org said.
Going into the meeting civil society groups have called on ministers to urgently address “climate risk” – companies and their financial backers fuelling climate change through continued fossil fuel development while those assets may become stranded as renewables leap frog fossil fuels.
Local Japanese activists used the meeting to present a petition calling for much stricter regulation and controls on Japanese banks and the finance industry, even as several of the larger banks in the region announce policies to limit lending to coal.
“The ministers at the G20 must ensure financial flows from banks, public and private, are in line with the goal of the Paris Agreement. Major global financiers have failed to set policies and investment criteria for dealing with the climate crisis. For this reason, it is up to the regulators, the finance ministers, the central bankers, to rein in a financial sector ignoring the clear calls of people and what’s written in the Paris Agreement.” Eri Watanabe, 350.org’s Japan campaigner said.
A starting point for G20 governments to indicate they are meeting the financial risks of climate change would be to lead in phasing out subsidies and public finance for fossil fuels, while creating regulatory requirements on private financial institutions to demonstrate their alignment with the Paris Agreement
“Climate change will lead to financial disaster. The financial community and financial regulators must take responsibility and join the transition towards a zero carbon economy if we are to avoid catastrophic consequences.” Ahmed Mokgopo, 350.org’s campaigner on finance and divestment in South Africa said.
The calls from across the world are clear, as Finance Ministers from the G20 come together to discuss global financial stability, they must address the elephant in the room: investments in fossil fuels development that are accelerating the climate crisis.
The G20 meeting opens after the European Investment Bank (EIB)’s headquarters was occupied by protestors calling for the bank to make an immediate end to financial support for fossil fuel companies and projects.
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