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Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Post
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20 banks under fire in UN climate change report

  • M. Taufiqurrahman

    The Jakarta Post

Warsaw | Sat, November 16, 2013 | 08:08 am

The UN Climate Change Conference, also called the COP19, launched a report on Friday about the role of 20 banks in burning coal.

The report finds that in the last eight years, commercial banks have poured ¤118 billion (US$159 billion) into mining coal while simultaneously lending renewables and trumpeting their efforts in green energy.

It found that the lion'€™s share of finance, 71 percent, was provided by only 20 banks, and Citi, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America topped the list.

'€œThe three banks at top of the list are Citi [¤7.29 billion], Morgan Stanley [¤7.23 billion] and Bank of America [¤6.56 billion]. Also among the top 20 are Swiss, German, Chinese, British, French and Japanese banks,'€ said the report, titled Banking on Coal '€” Undermining Our Climate.

The report also found that financial institutions from three countries, the US, the UK and China, collectively accounted for 57 percent of coal mining finance, and that coal finance had increased tremendously over the past five years.

'€œSince 2005 '€” the year the Kyoto Protocol came into force '€” banks'€™ financing for coal mining companies increased by 397 percent,'€ the report says.

The banks'€™ role in supporting this dirty source of energy flew in the face of their '€œgreen'€ campaigns.

'€œBank of America claims to be '€˜financing a low carbon economy'€™, Credit Suisse '€˜cares for the climate'€™ and BNP Paribas thinks it is '€˜combating climate change'€™,'€ said Yann Louvel, one of the authors of the research.

The report came out as Poland, host of the COP19, was accused of promoting the coal industry during the summit.

The Polish government has decided to host a coal conference along with the COP19, raising criticisms the coal-reliant country was abusing the presidency of the summit to champion the interests of the industry.

Environmental groups and civil society organizations gathering in Warsaw to observe the climate talks strongly oppose the coal conference, to be held next Monday.

Polish Environment Minister Marcin Korolec defended the coal conference, saying it was not staged within the framework of the COP19. '€œIt will be held in parallel with the UN conference,'€ Korolec said.

He added the coal conference could in fact be helpful for developing countries that relied on coal.

'€œAs far as I know, the conference is dedicated to mobilizing new technologies and research and development,'€ he said.