BBC Blames UK Banks For Carbon Emissions

By Paul Homewood


h/t Ian Magness 


Greenpeace/WWF take aim at the City of London, and guess who is backing them up?




If the UK’s biggest banks and investors were a country, they’d rank 9th in the world for the carbon emissions they’re responsible for.

That’s the striking conclusion of a new analysis by Greenpeace and WWF.

The study assessed the emissions associated with the global investments of 15 British banks and 10 asset managers.

A spokesman for UK financial institutions said they were committed to being net zero by 2050.

Net zero refers to the reduction of carbon emissions as much as possible, so that any remaining emissions are balanced out by absorbing an equivalent amount from the atmosphere – through planting trees, for example.

The research, led by South Pole, a specialist environmental analysis company, is an attempt at a rough estimate of the carbon footprint of the choices made by the giants of the British financial world.

Using data from 2019, it finds that they were responsible for a total of 805 million tonnes of greenhouse gases.

That’s 1.8 times more than the UK as a whole emitted that year and slightly more than Germany.

According to Greenpeace, this shows that the financial sector should be considered "high carbon" along with the oil and gas industry, coal mining, aviation and transport.

The estimates do not include emissions associated with insurance underwriting or property so the real figure may be far higher.

The executive director of Greenpeace UK, John Sauven, described finance as the "UK’s dirty little secret".

"Banks and investors are responsible for more emissions than most nations and the UK government is giving them a free pass," he said.

"How can we say we’re ‘leading the world on climate action’ while allowing financial institutions to plough billions into fossil fuel production every year? The claim is almost laughable."

The chief executive of WWF UK, Tanya Steele, called on the financial sector to have zero carbon transition plans that cover their investments all over the world.

"Trying to set a path to net-zero emissions without tackling the UK financial sector is like sticking a plaster when the patient needs open heart surgery," she said.

"Despite seeing ambitious commitments to tackle the climate emergency, our finance sector is still driving global investment towards the old, destructive ways of doing business that are destroying our one shared home."

In response, a spokesman for UK Finance, representing the banking and finance industry, did not challenge the findings of the new analysis.

He said lenders are "playing a leading role in the shift to net zero finance". 


Any report commissioned by Greenpeace and WWF has to be suspect from the start. Moreover it was written by South Pole, who make a lot of money out of the green agenda, from things such as carbon credits, sustainability consultancy, renewable energy and net zero projects.


The whole basis of the report is nonsensical, because it assumes that financiers are responsible for emissions, rather than the people who actually burn fossil fuels.

The claim that banks are financing fossil fuel production is also misleading, as the investments involved are largely shareholdings. Simply selling these shares, in other words disinvestment, which Greenpeace want, will not reduce the amount of finance available. It simply means somebody else will own the shares, and probably at a huge loss to the seller.

It is, in any case, utterly wrong for Greenpeace or anybody else to interfere with the choice of individual investors as to how they save their money.

At a deeper level though, to do what they recommend would ultimately leave the world short of energy. It would also be a new form of colonialism, implying that the West should be able to tell the rest of the world what it can and can’t do.

In reality though, if western finance for fossil fuel projects is cut off, which to some extent is already happening, other countries such as China and Japan will be quick to fill the gap.

If the world wants to end the use of fossil fuel, then it needs to tackle this at inter governmental level,  not by squeezing the banks.


May 28, 2021 at 04:27AM

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