Paris (AFP)

Friends of the Earth France and Oxfam France have called on France on Thursday to legislate "from 2020" to force its banks to strategies aligned with the goal of limiting the increase in Earth's temperature to 1.5 degrees and unveiled a study dedicated to their carbon footprint.

"In the name of the collective interest, imposing financial regulation would be a strong signal to limit human impacts and prevent a risk of major financial crisis due to climate change," say the two NGOs, in the preamble of this study whose AFP got a copy.

The standards advocated by the study "will have to guarantee that the banks put an end to their support for the expansion of fossil fuels and program their total output." The state must guarantee as a priority the exit of the coal sector at the latest in 2030 in European and OECD countries, and by 2040 in the world ".

The publication of this study comes on the eve of a major colloquium on green and sustainable finance, the "Climate Finance Day", organized in Paris, during which French financial institutions generally make announcements concerning their policies. fight against climate change.

"In 2018, greenhouse gas emissions from the financing and investment activities of the four largest French banks - BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Société Générale and BPCE - in the fossil fuel sector reached more than 2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent, that is 4.5 times the emissions of France that same year, "say the two NGOs in this study.

This report is obtained by comparing two figures. On the one hand "all financial transactions carried out by French banks to companies active in fossil fuels in 2018" and indirectly their contribution to generating greenhouse gas emissions activities. And on the other hand that of the greenhouse gas emissions of France for 2018.

In recent years, banking institutions have made various commitments to gradually divest themselves of sectors such as coal, tobacco and tar sands.

But "the pace of the march is far too uneven and slow to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement", tance the two NGOs, denouncing the effects of "communication" and "the role played by the lobbies of the Paris financial center to curb any form of public regulation of their activities ".

According to Friends of the Earth and Oxfam France, "in 2018, banks and their representatives of interest declared nearly 10 million euros to influence the national decision-makers, with no less than 95 lobbyists".

The two NGOs also point to the "interdependence between bankers and policymakers" which "can also be explained by the many passages of senior officials from the public sector to the private sector and vice versa, + revolving doors + operating at full capacity."

© 2019 AFP