CO2 emissions funded by banks and asset managers in the UK are almost twice as high as those rejected by that country, according to a WWF and Greenpeace study on Tuesday that calls on London to demand more effort from the sector.
“The financial sector will play a vital role in determining whether the world will successfully transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy,” the study said.
“To date, neither the government nor any regulator has taken appropriate action to tackle the problem of global emissions funded by private financial institutions in the UK and ensure that their activities are aligned with ambitions.” Countries, that is, carbon neutrality by 2050, she adds.
“Our results show that the CO2 emissions associated with the financial firms analyzed are 805 million tonnes,” with just over half for banks, the rest for asset managers, according to their published data from 2019, WWF and Greenpeace specify.
This represents “almost 1.8 times the emissions produced within the United Kingdom”, the study explained in detail.
That is more than the emissions of Germany and Canada, the study notes, and slightly less than the emissions of Iran, the eighth country that emits the most CO2.
The study covers 15 banks and ten asset managers present in the UK, but not all UK institutions.
City is the London borough where most of the largest banks established in the UK are headquartered, but the term often refers to the country’s entire financial sector.
The study does not include insurance and therefore says it greatly underestimates the carbon footprint of British finances, which they believe should be considered a high-carbon sector “such as oil, mining, aviation, etc.”
“Instead, some banks and financial institutions voluntarily commit to reducing CO2 emissions, many of which have been shown to have“ green laundry ”and are insufficient, the study continues.
“Planning a transition to carbon neutrality without considering the financial sector is like putting a bandage on a patient who needs open heart surgery,” said Tanya Steele, WWF’s executive director.
She urges the British government to “show the way” as it organizes the next major international environmental meeting in November in Glasgow, COP26, urging “financial institutions to have a plan to achieve carbon neutrality, including their investments”.
A spokesman for the UK Financial Industry Association responded to the study, assuring that “lending institutions take their responsibilities to society very seriously and, together with the government and the Bank of England, play a role. The predominant role in the transition to carbon neutral”.
The association recalls that last month the major players in the financial sector showed ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, forming the Net Zero Banking Alliance, chaired by former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, who became the UN special envoy to the European Union. climate and one of the organizers of COP26.
An initiative that has been coldly accepted by environmental NGOs and speaks of “diversion”.
The City of London, which is a historic financial district of London, responded by claiming that it “had an advantage in the fight against climate change”, claiming that “London is consistently ranked among the world’s leading centers of green finance”.
A report by another environmental NGO, Reclaim Finance, accused major British banks in early May, despite their announcements in favor of carbon neutrality, of being “at the forefront of financing oil, coal and other hydrocarbons”.
Another study conducted by several NGOs in March indicated an increase in funding approved by large banks to fossil fuel producers between 2016 and 2020.