Banking on Climate Change. Fossil fuel finance report 2020 has been published on March 18, 2020. It summarizes the activities of 35 banks in financing the fossil fuel industry and highlights their leading role in supporting dirty business. According to the authors, large banks have hardly reacted to the climate crisis and have together funneled USD $2.7 trillion into fossil fuels in the four years since the Paris Agreement was adopted.
Among the places where big banks’ financing for fossil fuels impacts communities and ecosystems discussed in the report there was a Polish example: PGE and the company's open-pit mine plans in Złoczew and Turów. Banco Santander’s negative role in funding the climate crisis has been explained in the report:
“BNP Paribas was the biggest European fossil bank in 2019, and along with Santander and CIBC saw the biggest percentage increase in its fossil financing from 2018-20.”
Banco Santander together with three other banks provided PGE with a corporate loan worth 4,1 bln PLN in September 2018. Here is what the report has to say about PGE:
“PGE (Polska Grupa Energetyczna) is the largest producer of electricity and heat in Poland, 91% of which it derives from burning coal. PGE’s plans to develop Europe’s deepest lignite mine at Złoczew appear now to be in jeopardy due to increasing costs, but the company is controversially seeking to expand its huge open-pit lignite mine at Turów in southwest Poland.68 The proposal, which would wreak further environmental and social devastation in surrounding areas, is being resisted by communities in Poland and in the neighboring Czech Republic and Germany. Czech authorities fear that expanding the mine could jeopardize drinking water for 30,000 people.Santander, MUFG, and Intesa Sanpaolo are the most recent banks to back PGE. The company’s lack of a coal phase-out policy has led ten European banks to blacklist it; all banks should follow suit rather than provide further backing for PGE’s destructive coal expansion strategy”.