Four big banks in Belgium have invested about €40 billion over the last two years in the extraction of fossil fuel, such as coal, natural gas, oil and turf, reported Le Soir, citing data from the latest study of Climate Coalition, a non-profit organisation.
BNP Paribas, the parent company of BNP Paribas Fortis operating in Belgium, has invested €30,37 billion, representing three quarters of the total, the Dutch banking group ING — €7 billion, the Belgian Bank KBC — €2,22 billion, the Belgian financial group Belfius(via its asset manager, Candriam) — €679 million.
As Coalition Climate pointed out, these investments took place with the 100 largest companies in the fossil energy sector, including companies with the largest reserves of coal and oil, and electricity companies with the capacity of the highest coal production. Nearly half of the investments of Belgian banks amounting to €19.4 billion weredestined for the latter type of fossil energy, which is also the most polluting.
However, Belgian banks are not the only ones investing in environmentally unfriendly energy sources. Australia’s big four banks invested three times as much in global fossil fuels as they did in clean energy in 2016, reports The Guardian. The banks provided a combined $10bn to projects around the world that expanded non-renewable energy, according to finance group Market Forces.
The International Energy Agency predicts that global demand for coal will continue to grow until 2019, albeit at a reduced rate (+2.1% per year, as opposed to 3.3% per year between 2010 and 2013).
What about the clean energy initiatives coming from Brussels?