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Telegram分享群组:Big banks fall short on net-zero commitments

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A man passing the entrance to the headquarters of Lloyds Banking Group in London. Lloyds is among seven of the 43 bank alliance members that have set overarching interim emissions targets for 2030 or sooner. — AFP

NEW YORK: Most banks that have published net-zero emissions targets are failing to live up to those commitments, says a fresh study by ShareAction.

The majority of the 43 largest financiers of fossil fuels in the net-zero banking alliance “have climate targets that fall short of what’s needed to prevent the worst impacts of the climate crisis,’’ the non-profit organisation said yesterday.

In fact, only 16% of the banks analysed have set interim, overarching net-zero goals, ShareAction concluded.

“Crucial gaps remain, including a general failure to apply climate parameters to their capital market activities and emissions-heavy sectors such as chemicals and agriculture,” it said.

The study came a day before representatives of the finance industry were set to steer talks at the 2022 United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt.

Finance Day, which last year was dominated by the heavyweights of global banking and investing, will be a leaner affair this time as many chief executive officers skip the event.

An energy crisis and a changing political landscape in the United States make it harder for banks to turn their backs on fossil fuels.

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Against that backdrop, the net-zero banking alliance clarified its governance structure last month to reassure some of its biggest members that they weren’t subject to the binding restrictions on fossil finance that had been proposed by the UN-backed Race to Zero.

That followed warnings from JPMorgan Chase and Co, Bank of America Corp and Morgan Stanley that they’d be willing to walk out if concessions weren’t made, according to people familiar with the matter.

Climate activists have pointed to the development as proof that voluntary net-zero alliances don’t work.

The UN, meanwhile, is among groups working on a framework to ensure that those making climate claims are held to account.

“The net-zero banking alliance needs to demonstrate stronger leadership to keep members on track, for example through compliance monitoring and an accountability mechanism,” said Xavier Lerin, senior research manager at ShareAction.

“It’s clearer than ever that we can’t rely on voluntary initiatives alone. Governments should step up with robust regulations to ensure companies are taking meaningful, rapid action to get us to a 1.5°C world.”

Only seven of the 43 bank alliance members that ShareAction analysed have set overarching interim emissions targets for 2030 or sooner, it said.

These are Lloyds Banking Group Plc, NatWest Group Plc, Nordea Bank Abp, BPCE SA, La Banque Postale SA, Crédit Mutuel and KB Financial Group, it said.

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