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Four US banks world's largest fossil fuel financiers: Study

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Citibank headquarters in Manhattan, New York, July 14, 2014 (AFP photo)

Four US banks are the world’s largest fossil fuel financiers, funneling more than $2.6 trillion into the industry since the Paris climate agreement was signed four years ago, according to a new analysis from a coalition of environmental groups.

J.P. Morgan Chase, the largest bank in the United States, provided nearly $65 billion in fossil fuel financing last year, the largest out of any of the 35 banks listed in the report. 

It also found that other top banks included Citigroup, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, which each provided nearly $52 billion, $48 billion and $45 billion.

The financing estimates were made based on loans and underwriting given to companies that have fossil fuels as part of their business.

The analysis was conducted by a group of environmental organizations, including Indigenous Environmental Network. BankTrack, Reclaim Finance, the Sierra Club and Oil Change International.

Alison Kirsch, a researcher at Rainforest Action Network who led the analysis, said the report shows “a deeply disturbing picture of how financial institutions are driving us toward climate disaster.”

“The data reveal that global banks are not only ramping up financing of fossil fuels overall, but are also increasing funding for the companies most responsible for fossil fuel expansion,” Kirsch said.

“This makes it crystal clear that banks are failing miserably when it comes to responding to the urgency of the climate crisis. As the toll of death and destruction from unprecedented floods, droughts, fires and storms grows, it is unconscionable and outrageous for banks to be approving new loans and raising capital for the companies that are pushing hardest to increase carbon emissions.” 

President Donald Trump has dismissed climate change and is pulling the United States out of the 2015 Paris Agreement on global warming.

Trump ridiculed Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg in December after she was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2019.

Back in December, the 16-year-old activist said talking to Trump at the UN Climate Change Summit in September would have been a waste of time since he would not have paid any attention.

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