Paddy McCully, Rainforest Action Network Climate and Energy Programme Director, comments on HSBC's new energy policy.
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Paddy McCully, Rainforest Action Network Climate and Energy Programme Director, has commented on HSBC's new energy policy, stating "“HSBC’s new policy is a mixed bag".
He continues, "That Europe’s number one banker of tar sands is distancing itself from the sector is encouraging. HSBC’s prohibition on direct finance for tar sands mines and pipelines is the latest signal that the financial sector is gradually losing its appetite for these risky projects and provides further evidence that there is no long term future for tar sands oil. But its coal power policy has a glaring, 80 GW loophole, and on both coal and tar sands HSBC still lags far behind its leading global peers such as BNP Paribas and ING.
"Most tar sands infrastructure is supported by bank loans and underwriting services to companies, not by direct financing for projects. HSBC’s policy prohibits lending to companies if the majority of the proceeds would fund prohibited projects."
"HSBC’s restriction on corporate finance for tar sands extraction and pipeline companies is a step forward, and further evidence that the sector as a whole will steadily become unbankable. It is unfortunate, however, that HSBC’s exclusion is significantly weaker than the 30% threshold for corporate involvement in the tar sands sector which is used by BNP Paribas."
There is a loophole in HSBC's policy, which facilitates the support of two of the most controversial proposed coal plants,the Rampal and Payra plants in Bangladesh. These plants threaten the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest and a World Heritage site.
HSBC’s financing for the biggest coal power companies is also increasing by 79% from 2016 to 2017, on top of a 62% increase from 2015 to 2016.
This new policy announcement improves HSBC’s grades to a C+ on tar sands and a C- on Arctic oil, which were previously D+ and D- respectively, but keeps the bank at a C on coal power because of its Asian loophole.