Welcome to the 6th edition of the 'Banks: Quit Coal!' newsletter

The global coal industry seems to have spent every week since the turn of the year spiralling deeper and deeper into trouble – a reason in fact for us getting this first edition of the BankTrack Coal Digest in 2016 to you only now, as the 'death of coal' has been conjuring up quite a range of things, both good and bad, that have been keeping us very busy. 

Since before last year's Paris climate summit, many big coal banks have been queueing up to publish new policies that ought to bring them into the twenty-first century when it comes to their financing of the global climate's number one enemy. This has continued into the new year, though banking sector progress overall remains patchy – as our quick analysis of the new UBS approach to coal below illustrates. Do look out for our 2016 Report card on coal (and other fossil fuel) finance which we're publishing next month with long-time partners Rainforest Action Network and the Sierra Club: the new report card will delve into and pull all the new policies together with our usual comprehensive analysis.

Yet, as three new coal dodgy deals (see below) attest, along with a host of other developments, especially in the developing world but also in parts of Europe, coal and its financial backers are set on one final splurge before the show ends.

No more so than in Bangladesh, where we mourn the tragic recent deaths of four villagers in a protest against the Chittagong coal power plant project, the worst of its kind for years worldwide and for which a full and independent inquiry is yet to be conducted.
On the other side of the country, local and global protests against the Rampal coal plant are really hotting up. The Exim Bank of India is now a crucial financial player in what will be a few make or break months for the project. 

The bank is supposed to be an institution which takes its responsibility for the social and environmental impacts of its operations very seriously, with a ‘Citizen’s Charter’ stating that: “the bank […] recognizes its obligations as a citizen of the world”. However, the India Exim Bank plans to provide $1.6 billion for the construction of the Rampal coal plant close to the Sundarbans forest.

It's like an open invitation to petition the bank to stop its support to the Rampal power plant. So, please do so today – by signing our global call to Exim Bank of India

With warm wishes,

The BankTrack Team



Coal: a fraud still being supported by Crédit Agricole and Société Générale

March 30 On the occasion of the publication of the ‘Boom and Bust 2016' report from Greenpeace, Sierra Club and CoalSwarm, which assesses coal power projects around the world, Friends of the Earth France and Greenpeace called on Crédit Agricole and Société Générale to renounce the Tanjung Jati B power plant expansion project in Indonesia. Located on the island of Java, the project is part of the development plan of 100 new coal plants in Indonesia, a program likely to guarantee less energy to people who need it while guaranteeing returns for the mining industry hit by declining demand on international markets. Read more

Deutsche Bank changes coal financing policy

March 11 Deutsche Bank has released a new corporate responsibility policy explaining that the bank has begun to phase out the provision of finance to companies that practice mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining. The updated policy indicates that the bank will decrease financing for the most significant MTR producers, without transparency around the timeline for finance reduction. While this policy is a positive move for Deutsche Bank, it remains incremental in nature, relies on the trend of decreasing MTR production overall, and "the view that MTR is likely to be phased out in the near to medium-term future." Read more.

JP Morgan Chase cuts coal financing, joins majority of largest US investment banks

March 8 JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPMC) has released new commitments to cut financing for the global coal industry. The policy promises a transition away from financing for coal mining companies, and an all-out end for financing of new coal mines. JPMC's policy also includes a prohibition on financing new coal-fired power plants in high income countries, and a recognition of the global commitment in Paris last December to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees. Read more.

Green Climate Fund must say no to partnerships with HSBC, Crédit Agricole

March 7 The Green Climate Fund (GCF) must not channel its money through two scandal-ridden international commercial banks that are leading funders of the coal industry, say civil society groups at a meeting of the GCF's Board in Songdo, South Korea.The groups say that the GCF must reject applications for accreditation by big banks HSBC and Crédit Agricole. Accredited entities are institutions approved to receive and manage GCF funds. Read more.

Indonesian banks ordered to stop all lending to coal-mining projects in East Kalimantan

February 24 The Indonesian mining industry has been dealt a double blow, a new Indonesian Coal Market Briefing from Greenpeace details. On Monday 15 February Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission announced that local authorities revoked 721 mining permits in 12 provinces - 478 of which are coal-mining permits. Two days later, the Financial Services Authority (OJK) ordered Indonesian banks to stop all lending to coal-mining projects in East Kalimantan, where 28 per cent of Indonesia's coal reserves are located. Read more.

From the Paris Pledge to the Paris Agreement

December 18 After an intense year of campaigning and monitoring of coal banks, the Paris COP21 concluded at the end of last year and with it the first phase of the Paris Pledge campaign. BankTrack will continue to track and chase in 2016, more than ever. We'll be monitoring the implementation of the coal commitments made by big banks and look to ensure that their financing is held to account to be in line with the 1.5°C pathway. Read more.

Civil society statement in response to the launch of financial sector voluntary climate principles

December 7 "These voluntary principles highlight the lack of climate leadership at the world's largest banks. Not one mention is made of the major role financial institutions have to play in decarbonizing the global economy - first and foremost by signing the 'Paris Pledge to Quit Coal' and publicly committing to phase out financing for coal mining and coal-fired power worldwide." Read more.


A Global call to Exim Bank of India: Stop support for the Rampal coal power plant

BankTrack - Exim Bank of India intends to finance the construction of the 1,320 MW Rampal coal power plant in Bangladesh via the extension of a ‘buyer’s credit’ of USD 1.6 billion to the Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Ltd. If you are concerned about the threats posed by the Rampal coal power plant not only to the livelihoods of the local population and to the world-renowned Sundarbans wetland adjacent to the project site, but also to the world's climate, then please sign this BankTrack petition today!

Force HSBC to quit coal

Move Your Money UK - HSBC is notorious for money laundering, price fixing, tax evasion, subprime lending and corruption. Move Your Money UK's Divest campaign exposed the bank's investments in fossil fuels, the most of any UK bank! Now MYM UK has dug deeper and discovered an even dirtier secret: HSBC is addicted to coal. Between 2005 and April 2014, HSBC ploughed a staggering 8 billion euros into coal internationally. This is part of a dangerous trend which sees global banks forcing us deeper into climate crisis by propping up the ailing coal industry, to the tune of almost $100 billion a year. Tell HSBC boss Stuart Gulliver to buck the trend and end financing for coal.

Deutsche Bank and RWE: Destroying the mountains

urgewald - In the Appalachian Mountains nature is suffering an unimaginable level of violence. People are adversely affected by toxins in water and pollutants in the air. The reason behind it? Climate killer coal! The mining industry is not the only driving force. Deutsche Bank and the German utility RWE are directly involved. Help us to put a stop to their dirty game! See urgewald's pageflow and sign their protest postcards addressed to the organisations in question.

Aussie banks must steer clear of Carmichael!

Market Forces - The giant Carmichael coal mine proposal in Queensland is highly unlikely to go ahead without the support of the major banks in Australia. While NAB and a number of major international banks have ruled out funding this mine, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ and Westpac have so far failed to join them. Let them know that they need to take action to protect our climate and the Great Barrier Reef from what could become Australia's biggest coal mine. Write to the banks here.


Tracking the global coal plant pipeline

CoalSwarm, Greenpeace and the Sierra Club - This year's Boom and Bust report finds that the world has too many coal-fired power plants, yet the power industry continues to build more. While the amount of electricity generated from coal has declined for two years in a row, the industry has ignored this trend and continues to build new coal-fired generating plants at a rapid pace, creating an increasingly severe capacity bubble. Read more.

Biggest Australian fossil fuels lenders revealed 

Market Forces - Australia’s big four banks are heavily exposed to fossil fuels, and our research shows that they are still as integral to the coal, oil and gas industries’ fortunes as they ever were. After analysing last year’s lending data, we can reveal the biggest lenders to fossil fuel projects and companies in Australia throughout 2015. Read more.


Tanjung Jati-B 2 coal-fired power plant, Indonesia

The Tanjung Jati B power station is a 2,640 megawatt coal-fired power plant located in Central Java Province, Indonesia. PT Central Java Power, the project's developer, started its operations in 2006. The power station comprises four 660 megawatt generating units. PT Central Java Power is planning to extend the power plant with two 1,000 megawatt units. Interest in the financing of the extension project is so far being shown by Japanese banks as well as Société Générale and Crédit Agricole. Read more.

Punta Catalina coal power project, Dominican Republic 

This highly controversial project, under construction and cloaked in health fears and allegations of overvaluation and corruption, has already received a first tranche of financing from a string of European banks including Deutsche Bank, ING and Société Générale – and more financing is expected, though is currently running into difficulties. Located in the Dominican Republic, a small island state highly vulnerable to climate change, the project has the potential to increase its CO2 emissions per capita by approximately 20%. Read more.

Krabi coal-fired power plant, Thailand

The planned coal plant in Krabi will not only harm the health and lives of neighbouring villagers, as well as their livelihood which is heavily reliant on tourism, but also Krabi's recognised marine biodiversity hotspot and its river estuary, listed as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. The 800 megawatt coal fired power plant could become operational by 2019. Read more.


Beware European coal banks – the endgame is coming for Ukraine’s DTEK

March 24 Ten years ago DTEK was one of the top private companies in Ukraine. The company’s prospects seemed bright and secure, at least in the view of investors. But now, in the eleventh year of its operations, DTEK’s performance has become a nightmare for every investor. This fall from grace has been coming. DTEK and its investors were banking on a major expansion of the coal sector at a time when the energy sector should have been shifting course towards a gradual, controlled phase out of coal. It was an ideal time to embark on the switch to renewables. Instead, and only encouraging DTEK’s strategy further, too many banks threw more millions at coal. Read more

Long March to save the Sundarbans – rising tide of Rampal coal plant opposition targets potential financial backers

March 18 In early March over a thousand Bangladeshis and Indians gathered in Dhaka to take part in a four day, 250 kilometre ‘Long March’ to voice a clear message: Save the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest. The Bangladeshi and Indian governments are currently intent on building a coal-fired power plant in the Rampal region 14 kilometres northwest of the Sundarbans, widely known as ‘the lungs of Bangladesh’. Read more

Too little and too late – Latest UBS coal policy moves analysed

March 8 The Swiss bank has been belatedly catching up with the rush of forward momentum from major banks which announced new coal financing policies in 2015. UBS, currently BankTrack’s number 13 ‘coal bank’ with over €11 billion in financing to the coal sector between 2005 and April 2014, has also, it would appear, started to see the light on coal. Yet BankTrack analysis suggests that this momentum is disappointing and lacks ambition. Read more

Bank financing of staggering Polish coal development plans continues to run deep

February 25 In spite of the Paris Agreement and the EU’s 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, Polish state-owned and private companies are pushing on with plans to develop a string of new open-pit lignite mines. And while local communities on the front line of these potentially destructive projects continue to resist them, many well-known, international banking names remain anchored in the Polish coal sector, and appear more than willing to prop up an industry which now appears to be on its last legs. Read more.

Post-Paris, and the dodgy coal deals are already sprouting up in 2016

February 4 Bangladesh’s Rampal moves forward, as bank interest in the Dominican Republic’s Punta Catalina plant and Indonesia’s Tanjong Jati B raises concerns over the strength of their climate commitments. As we’ve been settling into the new year and wondering how visible and – crucially – rapid any genuine follow through from the words of the Paris climate summit would be, there’s been a nagging concern at the back of our minds. Read more.

BankTrack is the tracking, campaigning and NGO support organisation targeting the operations and investments of commercial banks globally.
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