Banking and Fossil Fuel Companies

Despite the steady stream of scientific reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s biggest banks continue to fund the expansion of coal, gas, and oil companies. In recent years, these old school banks have loaned billions of dollars that have propped up a dangerous and dying industry – despite the fact that the World Health Organization has identified the climate crisis as the #1 threat to our health in the 21st century.

At the same time, the work of a huge array of organizations from Project Drawdown to Bloomberg New Energy Finance highlights the fact that we have the solutions and ideas needed to address climate change. But, governments and businesses are moving way too slowly. The big banks should be doing all they can to change that. They could choose to protect society and our kids – while making plenty of money on the exponential growth of the clean energy economy.

Why do they move so slowly? Because these organizations are driven by myopic, short-term, simplistic thinking. Like the fossil fuel industry itself, they move at a snail’s pace. So, like what happened when investors helped force South Africa to end apartheid, one thing we can do in concert with others is to help put economic pressure on the big banks. They are beginning to acknowledge the message, but have yet to begin to respond in any meaningful way.

To help, cut your ties with the big banks. Move your money into to a local co-op bank, or a smart ethical new bank like Climate First Bank. Second, support the work of organizations like that are working hard to put pressure on the banking sector.

When enough people decide to make these choices, the big banks will get the message.