On Wednesday October 11th, banking giant BNP Paribas announced that it is cutting ties with companies whose main business is connected with shale and/or oil from tar sands. The move has been lauded by climate activists around the world, who are calling for other banks to follow BNP Paribas’ example.
In a statement, Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, director and CEO of BNP Paribas wrote: “In concrete terms, these decisions mean that we will cease providing finance to a number of companies and organisations that are not making an effort to be part of the transition to a less greenhouse gas-emitting economy.”
This move has been widely welcomed as a huge win for the climate, with many celebrating the decision. Private finance campaigner Lucie Pinson, from Friends of the Earth France has said it’s “great news for the climate and a huge victory for the groups who have been mobilising in support of indigenous peoples who are on the front line of the impacts of tar sands, shale gas, and LNG projects in North America.”
Earlier this year, Friends of the Earth France, along with a number of climate groups, published a report that denounced BNP Paribas. It accused the organization of “contributing to a range of serious potential climate, environmental, and social impacts” with the financial help it had offered to a Texas LNG project.
Alex Speers-Roesch from Greenpeace Canada has called BNP Paribas’ decision “a testament to the diligent work of indigenous activists, environmental groups, concerned citizens, and everyone advocating to reform the financial sector.”
Following this news, climate groups are focusing attention on many more large international banks. Speers-Roesch continued: “More and more banks and investment funds recognise that in order to preserve their reputations and long-term financial performance, tar sands pipelines, and other extreme fossil fuel projects are not the way to go. Banks such as TD and Desjardins, that stake their reputations on being socially responsible, should expect growing resistance if they continue to fund pipelines such as Kinder Morgan.”
Similarly, director of the Rainforest Action Network’s Climate and Energy Programme Patrick McCully has drawn attention to JPMorgan Chase in a statement. He said that the bank, which is the largest US funder of tar sands, and others like it “now need to decide if they want to continue to follow the Trump dirty energy agenda, or change course and get in alignment with those trying to avert climate disaster.”
To learn more on this topic, read our recent breakdown of the $27.4 billion in climate financing committed by international multilateral development banks.
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