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Global finance has provided US $ 745 billion for coal, denounce NGOs


Global finance has provided US $ 745 billion for coal, denounce NGOs

Paris (AFP)

Financial groups around the world have provided $ 745 billion in financing over the last three years to 258 companies developing coal-fired projects, NGOs reveal Thursday that denounce a double discourse on climate change.

This amount is the result of the work of the Urgewald and BankTrack environmental associations, which, with the help of a worldwide network of NGOs, accounted for the different types of financing (loans, equity issues and bonds) granted by the financial actors. between January 2017 and September 2019 to these companies.

Companies related to these new coal power plant projects, investors as well as financiers are listed in a large database named the.

In total, there are more than 1,000 power plant projects or coal production units that, if implemented, would add 570 gigawatts to the global coal-fired power plant, increasing it by 28 percent, said environmental NGOs in a statement. .

They note that since the beginning of 2017, 307 commercial banks have directly lent $ 159 billion to these companies that promote coal, one of the most polluting energy sources.

The top three lenders are the Japanese banks Mizuho, ​​Mitsubishi UFJ Financial group and Sumitomo Mitsui banking corporation, ahead of the US bank Citigroup and the first French bank BNP Paribas.

NGOs note that Japanese banks account for about one-third of loans to these 258 companies and European banks 26%.

"The big European banks like BNP Paribas and Barclays exclude the direct financing of projects for the new coal-fired plants, (they) continue to grant loans to companies which (they) advance", denounces Greig Aitken, person in charge of the campaign climate for BankTrack.

"BNP Paribas continues to play against the achievement of the objectives of the Paris Agreement" to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, said for its part Lucie Pinson, head of the campaign private finance, with the AFP.

- Chinese and American presence -

The bank, which recently announced its withdrawal from the coal sector by 2030 in the European Union and 2040 in the rest of the world, remains "the 22nd largest financier in the world of these companies over this period" with 8.8 billion dollars in total, securities issues included, she denounces.

Asked by AFP, BNP Paribas disputes these figures, claiming to have "stopped financing any new coal project since 2017". "The number of new projects funded by BNP Paribas is zero in 2019," said the bank adding that it is not exposed to the 258 companies mentioned by NGOs.

"The group has in fact a commercial relationship with a dozen of them at most," she says.

A double speech, say NGOs, which also tacit the Spanish group Santander, sponsor of the COP25 held in Madrid. The Iberian juggernaut, which has pledged not to finance directly coal, has granted 655 million dollars in 2018 and 2019 to three companies (PGE, Tauron and Energa) to install 5.7 gigawatt of additional coal production in Poland, says Carlota Ruiz-Bautista, an environmental lawyer, quoted in the statement.

In addition, 300 banks have worked with companies engaged in coal to allow them to collect more than 585 billion dollars through the issuance of securities, such as stocks or bonds, continue associations. Major Chinese banks were the main participants in these securities issues, including Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Ping An Insurance Group. Prestigious UK institutions such as HSBC, Standard Chartered, Barclays and RBS also played a prominent role.

Most of these big banks "recognize the risks of climate change, but their actions are a slap in the face of the Paris climate deal," says BankTrack's Greig Aitken.

NGOs do not spare investors either, who buy the securities put on the market by banks. In 2019, more than 1,900 institutional investors held 276 billion shares related to the development of coal projects.

The US asset manager BlackRock is in the lead ahead of the Japanese government pension and investment fund and the US investment funds Vanguard and Capital.

© 2019 AFP

Source: france24

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