Two of the UN’s flagship green fund’s leading partners have been branded as major funders of oil, gas and coal projects in a study by four green groups.
Deutsche Bank and HSBC are among a raft of banks accused of driving investments that work against the aims of the Paris climate deal, agreed by 195 countries last December.
Compiled by the Sierra Club, Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack and Oil Change International, the study says top banks financed coal mining to the tune of US$42 billion and coal power $154 billion.
The practices are “deeply at odds with the global climate agreement reached at COP 21 last December” and its 2C upper warming limit, says the report.
Funding for “extreme oil” in the Arctic, Canadian tar sands and deep offshore fields hit $307 billion from 2013 to 2015, while $283 billion was directed towards liquefied natural gas exports.
German banking giant Deutsche Bank helped channel $7 billion to coal miners from 2013 to 2015, while London-headquartered HSBC accounted for $4 billion.
The pair were both accepted by the Green Climate Fund’s board amid intense criticism from civil society groups, who said their links to high carbon industries made them inappropriate partners.
The partnership with the GCF will see the banks help finance and advise on transformative green energy and climate resilience projects in developing countries.
Banks including JP Morgan Chase and Deutsche Bank announced plans to phase out coal from their portfolios in 2015, but campaigners say their move away from fossil fuel needs to be accelerated.
“Our assessment clearly shows that they still have a long way to go to concretely exit this industry, and even more for the other extreme fossil fuel sectors,” said Yann Louvel from Banktrack.
“None of these banks can claim to support the Paris Agreement, to be aligned with a 2C scenario or to be fighting climate change – as we too often read in their sustainability reports – if they continue to finance these destructive sectors.”