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HSBC updates climate policy to stop funding new oil and gas

LONDON (AP) — Europe’s biggest bank HSBC announced Wednesday it will no longer finance new oil and gas fields as part of its updated climate strategy.

Climate campaigners welcomed the moved saying HSBC provided a new baseline for other major banks but urged the bank to go further.

The bank said it would still provide financing to existing fossil fuel projects “in line with current and future declining global oil and gas demand.” It would also continue to provide finance and advisory services to energy sector clients but will assess the companies’ plans to transition to clean energy.

“It sets a new minimum level of ambition for all banks committed to net zero,” said Jeanne Martin, from the campaign group ShareAction. But she added the change “doesn’t deal with the much larger proportion of finance it (HSBC) still provides to companies that have oil and gas expansion plans.” She called for new proposals to address the issue of corporate-level financing for energy companies “as soon as possible.”

In a report last year the International Energy Agency said investments in new coal mines, oil and gas wells need to end immediately if the world stood a chance of meeting its commitment in the Paris Agreement of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

Earlier this year a group of institutional investors found that several banks — including HSBC — would need to significantly step up their efforts on climate if the Paris goal is to be met.


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