Last week I wrote about 6 huge US banks who were calling for a robust deal at the Paris climate talks. As I noted, this was just the latest sign that the banking sector is getting increasingly serious about climate change.
From Bank of America dumping coal mining to Goldman Sachs pledging to source 100% renewable energy, while they all have a long way to go, there are even some promising signs that these giants are beginning to walk the walk.
The latest to join the club is ANZ, one of Australia's big four banks, which The Guardian reports is making a bold commitment to stop funding any new conventional coal-fired power plants that don't deploy Carbon Capture and Storage and/or similar technologies that significantly reduce carbon emissions.Additionally, ANZ is pledging $10 billion over the next 5 years to fund renewable energy, reforestation, energy efficiency and other low emission technologies.
This is a promising sign indeed. And it may be driven as much by economics as it is ethics. Indeed, ANZ acknowledged in a statement that its exposure to carbon intensive industries was considered by many to be an increasingly significant financial risk, and that the bank needed to play its part in helping to manage an "orderly transition" from fossil fuels:
“We understand some of our stakeholders view our financing of fossil fuel industries as a material risk and in direct conflict with our stated position on the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Today, around 40% of the world’s electricity comes from coal-fired power stations and coal remains the cheapest source of fuel. We therefore consider that decarbonisation of the economy must be managed responsibly and over time.”
Meanwhile, the BBC reports that The Governor of the Bank of England has once again been talking about the Carbon Bubble with investors—warning of the grave risk of fossil fuel investments becoming "stranded assets" as the world moves away from a carbon intensive model, leaving many fossil fuels unburnable, and the plants that would have burned them unusable.
It's not just us TreeHuggers sounding the alarm anymore.