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COAL: BNP Paribas misses its shot, the match begins!

Paris, May 26, 2016

When asked today at its General Assembly about its support for coal, French bank BNP Paribas was content to simply recall the commitments it adopted for last year’s United Nations climate summit (COP21), and leave it at that. According to Friends of the Earth France, however, the policies adopted by the bank contain a number of loopholes which still allow the bank to finance companies in the coal sector, a situation wholly inconsistent with BNP Paribas’s stated priority to "act against climate change." In light of this denial of the climate emergency, Friends of the Earth France has announced a new wave of mobilisation against BNP Paribas and Engie, the French power company and another major climate polluter.

At today’s General Assembly Friends of the Earth France called on BNP Paribas to commit to no longer finance the development of the coal sector. However the sponsor of the French Tennis Open at Roland Garros and the world’s fourth largest coal financier was content to recall its commitments made at the COP21 last year. This stance amounted to an unacceptable denial of reality for Friends of the Earth France which denounced the double standards of a bank that continues to finance coal despite committing to do everything to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and to align its financing with the 2°C scenario [1].

Lucie Pinson, Private Finance campaigner at Friends of the Earth France, said:
"Coal is incompatible with the climate emergency. How many reports demonstrating this simple fact will it take for BNP Paribas to end its financing of new coal plants or of businesses that have no strategy to align their activities with the 1.5°C scenario? The COP21 may be past but we will not allow the objectives of the Paris Agreement to be forgotten. There is a match under way today, featuring the climate against profits and we are ready to mobilize as BNP Paribas has not sufficiently revised its financing policies to respond to the climate emergency."

In a note published today, Friends of the Earth France revealed six flaws in BNP Paribas’s coal policies [2]. Despite the bank’s 2015 review of its climate commitments climate, they cover only a small part of the coal sector:
1. BNP Paribas can continue to finance new coal plant projects in 93% of the global market.
2. BNP Paribas is reducing support for coal mining companies and power producers, yet is ignoring other key players in the industry – including transporters, traders and suppliers.
3. BNP Paribas continues to deem it unneccesary to end financial support for EDF, Engie and any other business which produces less than 30% of its electricity from coal.
4. BNP Paribas is requiring some of its customers to diversify out of coal without specifying the requirement that such an exit from coal should align with the 1.5°C scenario.
5. Not a single mention is made of exiting coal itself; BNP Paribas is therefore assisting with the resale of coal assets instead of demanding their closure.
6. No demands are made of the world's biggest coal producers such as Glencore, Anglo American and BHP Billiton.

In line with mass civil disobedience actions organised to prevent policymakers and companies acting with impunity, Friends of the Earth France has announced a new mobilisation programme on the occasion of the French Tennis Open being staged in Paris and sponsored by BNP Paribas.
On June 4 a ‘Climate versus profits’ tennis match will be held between climate polluters and civil society [3].

Notes for editors:

1. BNP Paribas press release for COP21 ; The Paris Pledge for Action signed by BNP Paribas.
2. See the Friends of the Earth note ‘Climate: the six flaws in BNP Paribas’s coal policy’ at the bottom of this page (only in French). See also the BNP Paribas Coal Bank Biefing published today with BankTrack.
3. See this page (only in French).
For more information contact:
Lucie Pinson, Private Finance campaigner, Friends of the Earth France, +33 679 543 715,

About Les Amis de la Terre

Les Amis de la Terre France is a federation of grassroots local associations campaigning for the environment and for sustainable societies.
This press release is sent via the BankTrack Newswire

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