International Finance

Europe’s biggest banks told to end financing for coal power plants

European banks climate
Barclays and Standard Chartered emphasised that they no longer finance new or existing firms relying on coal plants

Climate activists have asked some of Europe’s biggest banks to end funding for firms building coal-fired plants. The European banks have been challenged by climate and environmental groups to stop encouraging new coal-fired power plants, in the follow up to the Madrid meeting on climate change progress according to media reports. 

Nearly 190 countries met in Madrid to assess the activities on the back of Paris Climate Agreement which demands closure of coal power by 2050. 

Katrin Ganswindt of German environmental pressure group Urgewald told Reuters, “Some banks have pledged to not directly finance new coal plants but they are providing general finance to companies which are building new plants.”

Urgewald and BankTrack, an NGO targeting banks and their financing activities said that 10 European banks are still planning to finance coal-fired power plants.

The 10 banks were Barclays, BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, ING, Nordea, Standard Chartered and UniCredit. However, Barclays said that it no longer finances any new or existing coal-fired power plants. 

Even Standard Chartered said that the bank carries out its due diligence before approving funds to ensure it is compatible with their policies. 

Many European banks have adopted environmental and climate policies since the Paris agreement. These banks have discontinued financing to firms which rely on coal in any capacity to boost their revenue. 

Last year, a United Nations report said that nearly all coal-fired power plants are expected to close by the middle of this century to control the rising global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This is in line with scientists’ belief that it is required to further prevent climate change effects. 

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