The Yes to Life, No to Mining Network are supporting BankTrack’s Do The Paris Pledge Campaign alongside 90 other groups and thousands of individuals worldwide. Together we are demanding that the world’s banks stop funding coal mining and power generation that wreck the climate, ecosystems and communities. Read on to find out more and to pledge your support.
The coal industry is the number one source of carbon emissions, which are radically changing the world’s climate and in turn threatening a range of devastating impacts for all life on earth. We can end our reliance on coal – but we need to do so quickly. One way to achieve this is for banks to stop ﬁnancing this industry. We call upon all banks to publicly pledge to phase out finance for the coal industry, and to do so before the upcoming Paris Climate Summit.
What is this all about?
This coming November, representatives of all countries of the world will convene in Paris to try to conclude a new International Climate Agreement aimed at keeping the average global temperature rise below 2 degrees, the threshold beyond which already ongoing climate change will become outright catastrophic for people and planet. A vast majority of scientists and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have confirmed that we must phase out the burning of oil, gas and coal to stabilise global temperatures and minimise the risks of climate change.
However one major, alarming source of life support for coal companies continues to be provided by private sector banks. That’s right, the banks most of us use every day are fuelling the climate crisis by channelling hundreds of billions of dollars to an industry that is now in crisis itself and on borrowed time! That’s why BankTrack and all supporting organisations are calling on all banks to publicly pledge a phase out from the coal industry – and we need your help to make the message loud and clear in the coming weeks and months before the Paris Climate Summit.
Why focus on coal?
Multi-billion dollar subsidisation of all fossil fuel extraction and burning must end, but coal is the focus of the Paris Pledge campaign as it is the most carbon-intensive form of fossil fuel and, with 44% of all greenhouse gas emitted from fossil fuels originating from coal, it is the single greatest source of man-made carbon emissions. We have to ensure the banks have a clear initial fossil fuel exit strategy, as they have so far failed, singularly and collectively, to get the climate change message.
Since 2000, global coal production has grown by 69%, to a staggering 7.9 billion tons annually – with rising bank coal finance acting as a key, though often hidden, driver of this phenomenon. In their latest report, CoalSwarm and Sierra Club point out that since January 2010, a total of 2,177 coal plants worldwide have been either proposed, are being developed or being built. If these coal plants are all put into service – and, again, bank finance is crucial to this – this will clearly lead to a complete disaster. The banks must quit coal, and that is what the Paris Pledge campaign intends to bring about.
And why focus on banks?
Private sector banks play a major role in bankrolling the coal industry. Between 2005 and April 2014, according to our research, 93 banks around the world provided more than $500 billion in financing to the coal sector. There is no sign yet of declining support: between 2005 and 2013 banks in fact increased their coal ﬁnance. Because of their essential role as mobilisers of capital for the energy sector, banks are in a unique position to either help further entrench and prolong current fossil fuel based patterns of energy production, or help catalyse the necessary transition to a low carbon economy.
BankTrack believes that with this central role comes a particular responsibility for banks to help ﬁnance the energy transition, by shifting their energy portfolio rapidly away from fossil fuels towards the financing of energy efficiency and renewable energy. That transition must start with a public pledge to quit coal.