European banks slammed for backing coal industry
14 November 2013, Dhaka Tribune
‘Banking on Coal – Undermining our Climate’ will be released on Friday during the UN Climate Summit at Warsaw
Two Polish private banks – Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego and PKO Bank Polski – have been identified to be on the dirty list of banks that are heating up the globe, damaging the environment and hurting local communities, a new report says.
German environmental organisation Urgewald, the international BankTrack network, the CEE Bankwatch Network and the Polish Green Network said this on Wednesday in a preview to the publication of the report “Banking on Coal – Undermining our Climate” to be released on Friday during the UN Climate Summit in Warsaw.
The report explores the financing of nine major coal mining hot spots in the world by 89 international private banks from 2005 to mid-2013, among them Central Europe – covering Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic.
According to the report, Goldman Sachs is the top financier of the coal mining industry in Central Europe. It is followed by Citi, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and ING. Polish banks BGK and PKO Bank Polski are in the top 10 for lending.
“We are today naming and shaming those banks whose investments in Central Europe are heating up the globe, damaging the environment and hurting local communities. They must realise that unless they ‘quit coal’ now they will be responsible for the suffering of people around the globe impacted by coal mining and climate change impacts,” said Yann Louvel of BankTrack.
Campaigners are enraged as the fossil fuel industry is having unprecedented access to the COP19 negotiations at the behest of the coal-dependent Polish government, through corporate sponsorship and the “Coal and Climate Summit” to be held next week in Warsaw.
The government says they cannot shift from coal overnight and claims that they will make the outdated coal power plants energy efficient and will use upgraded technology in the new plants to curb CO2 emissions.
Kuba Gogolewski, of CEE Bankwatch Network, said: “These plans would have dire consequences for climate, nature and local communities if they go ahead. The European Investment Bank and the World Bank have already understood that and are turning their backs on coal. High time the private banks followed suit.”