‘Wall Street is a main villain’ in climate crisis, analysis says

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“The boardrooms of the world’s biggest banks are polluted deeply … How are we supposed to stop the climate crisis if the world’s most powerful decision-makers are in bed with the companies behind the wheel !?”

This is how Bank on Our Future, a UK-based company network pressure financial players to align their business practices with the fight against the climate crisis –replied Wednesday at a new DeSmog Analysis revealing that the majority of directors of major banks around the world are linked to polluting companies and organizations.

“It is a great and superb job from the talented detectives” at DeSmog, mentionned Beau O’Sullivan, Sunrise Project activist in Australia. He added that the report “contains results that readers may find offensive and deeply disturbing.”

DeSmog examined the boards of directors of 39 banks, including seven US-based, and found that 65% of directors have a total of 940 past or current ties to “climate conflict” industries. In all of the banks surveyed, 16% of board members had ties to companies involved in coal, gas and oil extraction.

In addition to fossil fuels, “there were also significant links with banks and investment vehicles supporting polluting industries, as well as with think tanks and pressure groups that campaigned against climate action.” , reported DeSmogPhoebe Cooke, Rachel Sherrington and Mat Hope.

“The fossil fuel industry has a well-established reputation for pleasing itself to thought leaders and policy makers in society,” said Geoffrey Supran, associate researcher in the Department of History of Science at Harvard University. . DeSmog on “the revolving doors between the business leaders of the industries in place”.

“Having your fingers in all the pies allows the fossil fuel industry to quietly put its thumb on the institutional decision-making ladder, helping to delay action and protect the status quo,” Supran added, who called the scan results “predictable, but shocking.”

Alec Connon, coalition coordinator at Stop the money pipeline, similarly responded to the revelations in an email to Common dreams.

“It should come as no surprise that Wall Street boards are full of executives with close ties to climate-damaging companies,” he said. “Since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, Chase, Wells Fargo and their ilk on Wall Street have loaned more than $ 1 trillion to the fossil fuel industry. In the climate crisis, Wall Street is a bad guy. main.”

“Maybe if they had fewer fossil fuel executives on their boards,” Connon added, “that would start to change.”

A coalition of green groups, including the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), released a report last month retailer how the world’s 60 largest banks invested more than $ 3.8 trillion in the fossil fuel industry following the landmark climate deal, which aims to keep the global temperature rising from here 2100 to “well below” 2 ° C, with a more ambitious target of 1.5 ° C.

The groups ‘ Betting on the climate report generated new criticism of recent promises work towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In light of DeSmogIn his report, Connon also touched on these commitments, saying that “the 2050 promises without 2021 action are essentially meaningless.”

“We need action today, no vague promises of action in the next three decades,” he continued. Perhaps the fact that Wall Street boards are so full of fossil fuel executives is one of the reasons they continue to prioritize empty promises over immediate policy change and significant.”

Since January 2020, the Stop the Money Pipeline coalition lobbied banks, insurers and asset managers to sever ties with companies financing climate destruction. While its primary initial targets were JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock and Liberty Mutual, the coalition has expanded its efforts, including with a recent launched Campaign aimed at donors of the Enbrige Line 3 tar sands pipeline.

This controversial project – intensely opposite by indigenous water protectors and climate activists – was the subject of a report by Emily Holden from Projector and Emily Atkin from HEATED, published Wednesday in The Guardian.

Citing DeSmogNoting that 77% of board members at seven major US banks have ties to companies or groups in climate conflict, the pair provided “a field glimpse of where all this dirty money is going,” as Supran Put the.

According to Holden and Atkin:

In the United States, Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo made the project possible with billions of dollars in loans, although it is impossible to calculate precisely how much they funded specifically for the pipeline. According to RAN, five other major Canadian banks also fund Enbridge.

Of these nine North American banks backing Enbridge, six recently published net zero climate goals, committing to align their investments with the international Paris climate agreement.

“Banks gorge themselves on donuts and then eat an apple,” said Richard Brooks, director of climate finance for Toronto-based Stand.earth. “We certainly can’t rely on banks or the private sector to lead us to climate security and lead us to emission reductions. We need policy, we need regulation. We need let the government act. “

Last week 145 groups sent a letter to John Kerry, President Joe Biden’s climate envoy, encouraging the former secretary of state to use his current position to help end “the flow of private funding from Wall Street to industries that drive the global climate change – fossil fuels and forests – raw materials at risk. “

In another pair of letters last week, federal lawmakers and environmental groups hurry Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will continue bolder efforts to shield U.S. financial institutions and the economy from the risks posed by the climate crisis.

Activists are also calling for changes in institutions.

“We need people who are willing to lead the climate on the boards of the largest financial institutions in the country,” said Connon. “This is why Stop the Money Pipeline joins the increasing calls on big investors, such as BlackRock and Vanguard, demanding that they vote against any corporate director who has proven unable or unwilling to take concrete action on the climate. It starts this shareholder season. “

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