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Home » There Are So Many Reasons Not to Trust Banks on Climate Change

There Are So Many Reasons Not to Trust Banks on Climate Change

There Are So Many Reasons Not to Trust Banks on Climate Change

Bank of America is one of 19 financial institutions joining a Climate Risk Consortium. Hold your applause.

On Wednesday, the nonprofit Risk Management Association announced it had corralled 19 banks into joining the RMA Climate Risk Consortium, with the goal of developing “standards for banks to integrate climate risk management throughout their operations, preparing the industry to help economies transition to a low-carbon future.” Altogether, members of the consortium have furnished $765.7 billion to fossil fuel projects since the Paris Agreement was brokered in 2015. Speaking to The Wall Street Journal about the announcement, RMA president and chief executive Nancy Foster relayed that it was “too soon to know exactly how the consortium’s work might affect an individual bank’s policies.”

The $765.7 billion figure comes from data compiled for the 2021 “Banking on Climate Chaos” report, by the Rainforest Action Network, Banktrack, the Indigenous Environmental Network, Oil Change International, Reclaim Finance, and the Sierra Club. The report lists the 60 top banks showering cash onto coal, oil, and gas projects: $3.8 trillion in total since 2015. Five consortium members appear on the list. Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and the Royal Bank of Canada—all featured prominently in promotional material for the consortium—are ranked third, fourth, and fifth. Fellow consortium members MUFG and U.S. Bank were sixth and thirty-ninth, respectively. If they were a country, just 18 major banks and asset managers—including Bank of America and Wells Fargo—would be the world’s fifth-largest polluter, according to another study from the Center for American Progress and the Sierra Club. Between 2016 and 2020, consortium members Truist, U.S. Bank, Bank of America, and MUFG have increased their financing of fossil fuels. The Royal Bank of Canada and Wells Fargo decreased their fossil fuel financing over that time.


Bank of America is one of 19 financial institutions joining a Climate Risk Consortium. Hold your applause.
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