Davos fi­nanciers pump $1.4tn into fos­sil fu­els, says Green­peace

Muscat Daily - - BUSINESS -

Paris, France - Some of the world’s biggest banks, in­sur­ers and pen­sion funds have col­lec­tively in­vested US$1.4tn in fos­sil fuel com­pa­nies since the Paris cli­mate deal, Green­peace said on Tues­day at the start of the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum in Davos.

With the cli­mate emer­gency ex­pected to be front and cen­tre at the an­nual sum­mit of the world’s business elite, the char­ity ac­cused some in­sti­tu­tions in at­ten­dance of fail­ing to live up to the fo­rum’s goal of ‘im­prov­ing the state of the world’.

Green­peace an­a­lysed the port­fo­lios of 24 of the banks rep­re­sented at Davos and found that they had fi­nanced the fos­sil fuel in­dus­try to the tune of US$1.4tn since the land­mark 2015 Paris deal.

That ac­cord en­joins na­tions to limit global tem­per­a­ture rises to ‘well be­low’ 2°C through a rapid and wide-rang­ing draw­down of planet-warm­ing car­bon emis­sions.

The United Na­tions’ In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change (IPCC) - the world’s lead­ing author­ity on the sub­ject - says that for a bet­ter-than-even chance of reach­ing the safer Paris cap of 1.5°C, oil and gas con­sump­tion would need to de­cline 37 per cent and 25 per cent re­spec­tively by 2030.

The IPCC says coal use must fall two thirds by 2030 and fall to vir­tu­ally zero by mid-cen­tury to keep earth on a 1.5°C path.

Yet car­bon emis­sions are grow­ing ev­ery year as global en­ergy de­mand surges, and the In­ter­na­tional En­ergy As­so­ci­a­tion said on Mon­day that fos­sil fuel com­pa­nies are still only in­vest­ing 0.8 per cent of their spend­ing in re­new­ables.

Jen­nifer Mor­gan, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Green­peace In­ter­na­tional, said fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions were com­plicit in cli­mate change by funding the fu­els that drive it.

“Banks, in­sur­ers and pen­sion funds are as cul­pa­ble for the cli­mate emer­gency as the fos­sil fuel in­dus­try - specif­i­cally those that go to Davos,” Mor­gan told AFP.

“Th­ese Davos play­ers say they sup­port the Paris agree­ment but since its sign­ing they’ve pumped US$1.4tn into fos­sil fu­els.”

‘Prop­ping up dirty en­ergy’

The Green­peace re­port found that just ten banks had pro­vided US$1tn to fos­sil fu­els since Paris. That same amount could pay to dou­ble the world’s so­lar power ca­pac­ity.

It also iden­ti­fied three pen­sion funds with at least US$26bn in fos­sil fuel hold­ings, and al­leged that four of the world’s biggest in­sur­ance firms - AIG, Pru­den­tial, Sompo and Tokio ma­rine - had no pub­licly dis­closed poli­cies to divest from fos­sil fu­els.

“The fos­sil fuel in­dus­try needs the fi­nance sec­tor but its not the same the other way around, so why are th­ese bank, in­sur­ers and pen­sions prop­ping up dirty en­ergy?” asked Mor­gan, who will be par­tic­i­pat­ing in the four-day Davos fo­rum.

Last year green groups is­sued the Fos­sil Fuel Fi­nance Re­port Card, iden­ti­fy­ing a rise in funding for coal, oil and gas each year since Paris was signed.

“The mas­sive scale at which global banks con­tinue to pump bil­lions of dol­lars into fos­sil fu­els is flatly in­com­pat­i­ble with a live­able fu­ture,” said Ali­son Kirsh, cli­mate and en­ergy lead re­searcher at Rain­for­est Ac­tion Net­work.

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