The British bank Barclays has announced that it will no longer finance the surface mining method of oil sands exploration and production and that it will tighten its lending criteria for clients involved in coal-fired power generation, but it has not yet made the same commitment to limit lending for oil and gas as some of its rivals have.
The phaseout of financing for coal-fired power from clients in the UK and EU by 2030 was expanded by Barclays in its annual report for 2022 to cover more Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development members.
Unfortunately, the bank’s fracking policy is unchanged, and new oil and gas are not mentioned, despite the fact that it hasn’t released a new oil and gas policy in the last three years.
According to ShareAction’s Head of Banking Program Jeanne Martin, this indicates that Barclays is still not meeting the basic criteria of ambition in the sector.
Environmentalists have criticized banks for announcing measures to decrease greenhouse gas emissions but failing to carry them out quickly enough, and they have urged them to avoid funding new oil and gas development.
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According to Barclays’ report, it will no longer provide funding for oil tar sands companies and new oil sands pipelines.
According to Reuters, the international bank also established its first emission reduction goal for the car manufacturing sector. In comparison to last year’s figures, it targeted carbon reductions of 40 to 64% by 2030.
Barclays also set a convergence point rather than a target for a 40 percent reduction in emissions from the residential real estate sector by 2030. It claimed that a wider range of decisions outside the bank’s control was necessary for the decarbonization of homes in the UK.
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According to the annual report, Barclays reduced its emissions for the steel, cement, and energy industries last year.
Since 2020, the absolute greenhouse gas emissions produced by the bank’s energy clients have decreased by 32%.
According to nonprofit ShareAction, 30 investors with $1.5 trillion in assets managed by five of Europe’s largest banks, including Barclays, have written to one or more of them to request that they agree to stop directly financing new oil and gas fields by the end of this year and instead concentrate on renewable energy companies.
The investors underlined their worry that new oil and gas fields would endanger the global effort to achieve net zero.
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Martin said in the statement that Barclays should take charge and move quickly to update its oil and gas policy before its 2023 AGM in order to comply with science-based climate standards that have made it clear that there is no room for new oil and gas fields if we want to limit global warming to 1.5C.
Otherwise, the bank should be prepared to deal with further shareholder action to encourage Barclays to meaningfully align with its net zero goal.