“Don’t Bank on Coal” demand European NGOs « Mining Blog

“Don’t Bank on Coal” demand European NGOs

28. May 2012,

Over the past fortnight. two major European environmental groups have called on continental banks to reduce – or abandon – their investments in coal and other fossil fuels.

The Bankwatch network, in a new report, claims that the The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is “lending excessively to polluting fossil fuel projects, especially coal, undermining its own sustainable energy strategy” [see Reuters, 17 May 2012].

It says that such projects accounted for 48 percent of the bank’s energy-related investments between 2006 and 2011.

And, while praising the EBRD for increasing it lending to “renewables” – to 272.9 million euros in 2011 from 6.8 million euros in 2006 – Bankwatch questioned the sustainability of many of these projects, claiming that some of them “had actually extended the working life of potentially polluting developments such as coal mines…

“A phase-out of fossil fuel lending (by the EBRD) would send a clear signal to those countries which have so far been unenthusiastic about new renewable energy that they should start to take it more seriously.”

Meanwhile, two leading French investment banks, Société Générale and Crédit Agicole, were “attacked” by Friends of the Earth France at their shareholders’ meetings last week

According to a Friends of the Earth France press release (24 May 2012): “[A]ll the profits of these banks are made at always more expensive human, environmental and climate costs.”

The groups said that Crédit Agricole and Société Générale own millions of euros of shares in companies deeply involved in “mountain top removal” of coal [MTR].

Praising Crédit Suisse for excluding from its portfolio all companies that use MTR, Friends of The Earth claimed that “To this day, no French banks have made steps in that direction!”

The group also pointed out that Crédit Agricole and Société Générale are involved in two damaging coal power plant projects, Kusile and Medupi, in South Africa.

“This last project will emit 25 million tons of CO2 per year (the equivalent of 5% of all French yearly emissions) and it has been created mostly to answer the industrial sector needs, thus mainly foreign mining companies, for exports.

FoE France called on the French banks to “put in place a moratorium on funding new coal fired power plants, and support instead opportunities in energy efficiency and in the renewables sector”.

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