Environmentalists are tracking the cash invested in fossil fuels by three of the UK’s biggest banks in the run up to climate conference COP26 in what has been dubbed the “race to disaster”.
HSBC invested nearly £33bn into fossil fuels in the first half of 2021, according to environmental finance watchdog Market Forces. Barclays was close behind, funnelling more than £32bn into projects which put the global target of net-zero carbon emissions further out of reach.
Standard Chartered ranked third, giving nearly £23bn to fossil fuel schemes in the first six months of this year.
The experts will monitor each bank’s investments month by month until the global climate conference is held in Glasgow this November, at which point the offender will receive a “special prize”. The monthly tracking is the first initiative of its kind in the UK and an online tracker will be updated regularly.
“Barclays, HSBC and Standard Chartered keep telling us they care about climate change, but every month they show how empty their words are by signing deals expanding the scale of the fossil fuel industry,” said Adam McGibbons, UK campaign lead at Market Forces.
“Our Race to Disaster prize is one award these banks won’t want to receive,” he added.