Barclays finances more fossil fuel firms despite green vow: NGOs

London (AFP) –


British bank Barclays has lifted its financing of fossil fuel firms so far this year, despite vowing to tackle climate change, data showed Wednesday from NGO network Fund our Future.

Barclays provided $24.58 billion (20.72 billion euros) in underwriting and lending to major fossil fuel companies in the nine months to the end of September, compared with $24.38 billion a year earlier, Fund our Future said in a statement.

Fund our Future cited data from non-governmental organisation the Rainforest Action Network, which assessed figures from 2,100 companies that are operating in the coal, gas and oil sectors.

The group also criticised banking giant HSBC for providing some $19 billion in financial support for fossil fuel companies over the same period.

But that was down from $21.58 billion a year earlier.

Both Barclays and HSBC pledged earlier this year to achieve net-zero carbon emissions across their investments by 2050, under pressure to help tackle climate change.

AFP contacted both banks for official comment on the findings but there was no immediate response.

"Barclays and HSBC 'net zero by 2050' commitments are only worth their paper if this has rapid and deep consequences for their ongoing financing of the fossil fuel industry today," said Johan Frijns, director of campaign group BankTrack.

And he called for "credible" action before COP26, the UN's global climate change summit which will be held in Glasgow next year.

"You cannot expect to be praised for making commitments for 30 years from now while continuing to pour billions into coal, oil and gas companies," Frijns said.

"Net zero by 2050 requires having a credible phase out plan for the entire fossil fuel industry in place before COP26 Glasgow latest."