Barclays Plc and Citigroup Inc. were the top providers of funding for the most damaging practices of the U.S. coal industry last year.
Barclays provided the most financing for miners using a method called mountaintop removal and Citigroup provided the most for power companies that burn coal to produce electricity, Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack and the Sierra Club said today in their fifth annual coal finance report card.
The report is designed to draw attention to financial companies that support the production and consumption of coal, the biggest man-made source of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. won praise for reducing funding for mountaintop removal, receiving the first B grades since the report was created.
“We’re encouraged that some banks are responding to the increasing risks of coal finance,” Ben Collins, a research and policy campaigner for Rainforest Action Network in San Francisco, said in an interview. “JPMorgan and Wells Fargo are going in the right direction.”
No A grades have ever been given. To earn an A, banks must stop lending and investment banking activity for any companies involved in mountaintop removal. The technique involves “blasting the tops off mountains to expose coal seams and dumping the resulting waste into streams,” according to the report.
JPMorgan was among the top three coal financiers identified in last year’s report, along with Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup.
Total investment in the U.S. coal industry among the top 12 banks in the survey rose 52 percent from 2012 to $31.7 billion.