We've long known that JP Morgan Chase is one of the world's foremost investors in coal. The giant bank has been roundly criticized for, among other things, funding immensely destructive mountaintop removal operations. So it should come as no surprise that the institution spends an estimated $22 billion annually on coal investments.
And that helped Chase earn the top slot in a recent BankTrack analysis of the financial institutions that invest most heavily in "climate-killing" coal. Indeed, the ethical banking organization has just unveiled a list of the Top 20 'Climate Killer' Banks, and there are few surprises. Here are the numbers:
As you can see, the runners up are also big American banks. Citi invests $18.27 billion annually, and Bank of America dumps $16.79 billion into the coal industry.
The report also explains the objective of revealing these numbers, noting that "Coal-fired power plants are not cheap to build. Typically, a 600 Megawatt plant will cost around US$ 2 billion. Power producers therefore rely heavily on banks to provide and mobilize the necessary capital for coal plants."
BankTrack also quotes Tristen Taylor of Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, with a startling observation: "Our figures clearly show that coal financing is on the rise. Between 2005 and 2010, coal financing almost doubled. If we don't take Banks to task now, coal financing will continue to grow." And more coal financing means more coal plants. And more coal plants means more greenhouse gas emissions. And more ... you get the picture.
The report showcases yet another way in which the 1% is exerting their influence at the expense of the 99% -- who, it should be noted, call for more investment in clean energy every year in clear majorities.