In Europe and the US, there is a trend towards stricter regulations for coal-fired power plants, which are an enormous source of CO2, a major cause of global warming. With Asian economies advancing and becoming more dependent on coal, it can be said that reliance on coal plants will continue to grow.
In anticipation of COP 21 held in Paris in December 2015, the international NGO Bank Tracker started a new campaign called “Paris Pledge” in July in hopes of ending financial aid for the coal industry. Dirty investment in the coal industry must end if we are to promote low-carbon technology to developing countries.
The “dirty” truth about coal
Coal is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions at approximately 44%. Despite this, plans for new coal plants keep coming out around the world. According to the Bank Tracker’s report “Banking on Coal 2014”, from 2005 to April 2014, investments in coal by 92 private banks around the world reached 500 billion USD (approximately 60 trillion JPY). The biggest private banks invested 144 billion USD (about 17 trillion JPY) in 2014. Japan’s private banks have been major players in overseas coal investment and rank high in the Bank Tracker’s list of top investors.
Top 20 Coal Banks 2005-April 2014 (Euro millions)
|Name||Country||Coal Investment (Euros in millions)（€）|
|1||JP Morgan Chase||USA||21,520|
|5||China Construction Bank||China||17,252|
|6||Bank of America||USA||17,209|
|7||Industrial Commercial Bank of China||China||16,795|
|14||Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc.||Japan||10,396|
|23||Mizuho Financial Group, Inc.||Japan||5,826|
|26||Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Inc.||Japan||4,919|
Signing the “Paris Pledge”
On September 3rd, 2015, the “Paris Pledge” received its first 6 signatures from ASN Bank (Holland), Banco Fie (Bolivia), Ekobanken (Sweden), New Resource Bank (USA) and Ethikbank and Umweltbank (both from Germany). These 6 banks have expressed that they will withdraw investments from coal related projects including mining and developing power generation. With banks pulling out of those coal projects and turning their to low-carbon initiatives, this movement is a pivotal step towards decarbonization. As a result, the construction of coal-fired power plants has not progressed and the energy industry is forced to review policy changes. With these 6 banks leading the way, other financial institutions, including the other Japanese banks, are expected to sign the Paris Pledge.
It should be noted that Bank Tracker is also accepting signatures from individuals and organizations. Click here to sign!
Fair Finance Guide Japan: Now taking signatures! Stop dirty investment. Dear banks, take the oath to stop coal before Paris!
BankTrack, Banks and Coal (English)