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BBC Blames UK Banks For Carbon Emissions

May 28, 2021

By Paul Homewood


h/t Ian Magness 


Greenpeace/WWF take aim at the City of London, and guess who is backing them up?




If the UK’s biggest banks and investors were a country, they’d rank 9th in the world for the carbon emissions they’re responsible for.

That’s the striking conclusion of a new analysis by Greenpeace and WWF.

The study assessed the emissions associated with the global investments of 15 British banks and 10 asset managers.

A spokesman for UK financial institutions said they were committed to being net zero by 2050.

Net zero refers to the reduction of carbon emissions as much as possible, so that any remaining emissions are balanced out by absorbing an equivalent amount from the atmosphere – through planting trees, for example.

The research, led by South Pole, a specialist environmental analysis company, is an attempt at a rough estimate of the carbon footprint of the choices made by the giants of the British financial world.

Using data from 2019, it finds that they were responsible for a total of 805 million tonnes of greenhouse gases.

That’s 1.8 times more than the UK as a whole emitted that year and slightly more than Germany.

According to Greenpeace, this shows that the financial sector should be considered "high carbon" along with the oil and gas industry, coal mining, aviation and transport.

The estimates do not include emissions associated with insurance underwriting or property so the real figure may be far higher.

The executive director of Greenpeace UK, John Sauven, described finance as the "UK’s dirty little secret".

"Banks and investors are responsible for more emissions than most nations and the UK government is giving them a free pass," he said.

"How can we say we’re ‘leading the world on climate action’ while allowing financial institutions to plough billions into fossil fuel production every year? The claim is almost laughable."

The chief executive of WWF UK, Tanya Steele, called on the financial sector to have zero carbon transition plans that cover their investments all over the world.

"Trying to set a path to net-zero emissions without tackling the UK financial sector is like sticking a plaster when the patient needs open heart surgery," she said.

"Despite seeing ambitious commitments to tackle the climate emergency, our finance sector is still driving global investment towards the old, destructive ways of doing business that are destroying our one shared home."

In response, a spokesman for UK Finance, representing the banking and finance industry, did not challenge the findings of the new analysis.

He said lenders are "playing a leading role in the shift to net zero finance". 


Any report commissioned by Greenpeace and WWF has to be suspect from the start. Moreover it was written by South Pole, who make a lot of money out of the green agenda, from things such as carbon credits, sustainability consultancy, renewable energy and net zero projects.


The whole basis of the report is nonsensical, because it assumes that financiers are responsible for emissions, rather than the people who actually burn fossil fuels.

The claim that banks are financing fossil fuel production is also misleading, as the investments involved are largely shareholdings. Simply selling these shares, in other words disinvestment, which Greenpeace want, will not reduce the amount of finance available. It simply means somebody else will own the shares, and probably at a huge loss to the seller.

It is, in any case, utterly wrong for Greenpeace or anybody else to interfere with the choice of individual investors as to how they save their money.

At a deeper level though, to do what they recommend would ultimately leave the world short of energy. It would also be a new form of colonialism, implying that the West should be able to tell the rest of the world what it can and can’t do.

In reality though, if western finance for fossil fuel projects is cut off, which to some extent is already happening, other countries such as China and Japan will be quick to fill the gap.

If the world wants to end the use of fossil fuel, then it needs to tackle this at inter governmental level,  not by squeezing the banks.

  1. May 28, 2021 10:27 am

    Yet another BBC article where comments were rapidly closed down because they were sticking it to the Green zealots

  2. Jack Broughton permalink
    May 28, 2021 10:33 am

    These organisations are very good at using legal frameworks to stop business. The small, regional Dutch courts found against Shell, who now have to go to appeal or have their business controlled by the eco-freaks, similar to what occurred in the USA with class-actions.

    As you note, China, Japan, Russia etc will be rubbing their hands at these unexpected opportunities. Some of the eco-freaks do not understand the implications of their obsessions, others do!

  3. Penda100 permalink
    May 28, 2021 10:35 am

    More propaganda from Minitrue. Why does the BBC feel it necessary to promote a report from Greenpeace and WWF which is so nonsensical and biased? (Silly question I know). In the context of Minitrue we must remember “There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.”

    • Gerry, England permalink
      May 28, 2021 1:46 pm

      It boosts the return on their pension investments that have been ploughed into all things green and subsidised.

  4. Ian Wilson permalink
    May 28, 2021 10:39 am

    Unfortunately the finance giants are encouraging the climate hysteria – David Cumming of Aviva as just one example has been on Radio 4 Business News on several occasions stating that they will sell their holdings in companies ‘not doing enough about climate change’. Legal & General have made similar noises. Does Mr Cumming hold scientific qualifications? if not, what right does he have to penalise firms which might be better informed about climate than Aviva?
    We now learn oil companies have been forced to admit climate activists to their boardrooms. My own view is that instead of trying to show how much the companies are doing to ‘reduce emissions’ they should mount a robust rebuttal of the entire CO2/climate hysteria. Climate activists are like blackmailers, whatever they are offered their response is it doesn’t go far enough.

    • Gamecock permalink
      May 28, 2021 11:38 am

      “stating that they will sell their holdings in companies ‘not doing enough about climate change’”

      Gotta love the caring Leftards. They aren’t going to close them down; they are going to sell them. Showing how much they actually care.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        May 28, 2021 12:26 pm

        As an insurance company they will have actuarial advice about the likely problems with claims in the future unless they start speaking out about the ‘dangers’ brought about by the ’emergency’. It’s CYA time at Aviva.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      May 28, 2021 2:14 pm

      I think the likes of Aviva should be challenged: who would they sell to? Who do they think would like to buy? And what would be the implications of that ownership? Why would they even consider selling to China? Do they think such a sale would even remotely help the climate? What would be the outlook for the West if we sold all our fossil fuel companies? As an obvious fire sale, are they not doing their investors enormous harm and providing a gift to the buyers?

      I hope the likes of GBNews has the wit to ask those kinds of questions.

  5. diogenese2 permalink
    May 28, 2021 10:59 am

    A beautiful piece of sophistry enabling multiple counting of “carbon footprints”. The same amount of “carbon” attributed to the extractors, processors, distributors of products and manufactured items, the owners/investors of involved concerns not to mention their use of derived services and products. The breathtaking hypocrisy of exempting their own carbon footprint from. Perhaps we should consider the concept of a “carbon fingerprint” to measure the level of income derived from promoting the global warming narrative multiplied by their “carbon footprint” as end users.

  6. Peter Yarnall permalink
    May 28, 2021 11:02 am

    It makes total sense. After all isn’t the mission of “climate change”, to quote Harrabin, to smash capitalism?

    • May 28, 2021 8:13 pm

      And replace it with what? The Soviet central planning model didn’t go too well.

  7. May 28, 2021 11:37 am

    The description of “finance” by a climate alarmist as a “dirty little secret” is meaningless, especialy in a nation whose greenhouse gas output is negligible at very much less than1% of the global total.

    No wonder any Greens aware of that vital statistic are not admitting it, since it essentially demolishes their climate alarmism at least as far as the UK is concerned.

    Anyway, greenhouse gases’ influence on the planet’s climate is speculation and likely wrong since the impacts on the climate of atmospheric water vapour and the Sun must be recalled as the real “villains” of the piece, if such influential variables could possibly be so described which, realistically, they can not.

  8. GeoffB permalink
    May 28, 2021 11:37 am

    If I was a chief executive of Shell or BP, I would phone the other CE’s and stop distributing oil and gas for a month, just to show the eco loons what they are wishing for. Natural gas supply is very tight, stopping LNG for a month would stop CCGT generation and we have no wind for the next week…a few power cuts would be the icing on the cake. OK. it will never happen but I can dream.

    • Colin permalink
      May 28, 2021 1:29 pm

      I’ve often thought that if our North Sea oil platforms were staffed by Frenchmen they would have gone on strike until the government stopped threatening their future livelihood. And it royally pisses me off when governments who have been extracting rent from oil production for decades now piously declare they want to end it.

  9. REM permalink
    May 28, 2021 11:53 am

    I wonder what the “carbon footprint” of the BBC is? Must be pretty hefty. And what about its emergency power arrangements? Surely they wouldn’t use diesel or other natural fuel generators?

    • NeilC permalink
      May 28, 2021 12:31 pm

      That’s the problem with all these AGW advocates, like the BBC, they never look at their own carbon footprint. If the BBC stopped using fossil fuels, wouldn’t that be a wonderful idea, no more BBC, well maybe 25% on a windy day.

      • May 28, 2021 1:27 pm

        ……… probably at a huge loss to the seller. ………

        If its a pension fund then a capital loss and an income loss for the pensions. Pension funds buy oil companies as they typically yield 5% or more. They need the yield to pay the pensions. Where else can you get a 5%+ yield ?

  10. MrGrimNasty permalink
    May 28, 2021 1:01 pm

    Wow, 0.000000805 out of 2.13 x 10^15kg of CO2 in the atmosphere, or 0.000038%, or 263 years to make 1/100th of a percent, by which time life will have changed beyond imagination and alternative viable sources of energy will certainly have been found.

    Even if true, it’s utterly irrelevant. As the West self-flagellates and self-destructs, China’s coal surge and global power seizure continues.

    • Broadlands permalink
      May 28, 2021 1:33 pm

      Mr.Grim… A small, but not minor correction. Your 2.13 refers to carbon. With the added oxygen, CO2 is 3.67 times larger…7.8. And that’s just ONE part-per-million. Makes all these ‘green’ attempts to lower atmospheric CO2 really silly. And very costly.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        May 28, 2021 6:15 pm

        Blame google for the figures.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        May 28, 2021 6:22 pm

        Just to clarify, it may not be the correct figure, but is was CO2 not C.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        May 28, 2021 6:53 pm

        It does appear the first google source I used was on the low side (Quora answer), a better figure seems to be ~ 3.2×10^12 tonnes of CO2 total mass in the atmosphere – 50% more.

        Nothing to do with using total weight of C instead of CO2 though.

        Anyway, that makes ‘bank blame’ even less significant.

  11. Bloke down the pub permalink
    May 28, 2021 1:01 pm

    Alex cartoon from the Telegraph yesterday seems to be on topic.

  12. Cheshire Red permalink
    May 28, 2021 1:13 pm

    The top-rated comment nicely nails the obvious retort here; that these ‘carbon’ emissions will’ve already been counted elsewhere in their country or origin.

    Attributing them to The City is double counting! Here’s the comment, below.

    ‘Surely all that carbon is already included in the totals for the countries where it is produced, in which case this seems like double counting? Or to put it another way, if the carbon is attributed to the theoretical “country” of UK Financial then the totals for other countries will be lower?’

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      May 28, 2021 2:22 pm

      I’m the girl that makes the thing
      that drills the hole that holds the ring
      that drives the rod that turns the knob
      that works the thing-ummy bob

      that sits on the oil well, so my carbon footprint must be ginormous!

  13. May 28, 2021 1:21 pm

    Global warming is a global issue that requires a coordinated global response to reduce global emissions. That the UN has failed in that endeavor does not imply that therefore there is a role for the “ambition” of nation states much less their banking system. Climate action has to be a globally coordinated program to reduce global emissions. There is no opportunity here for climate heroism of nation states or of any sector in the economy of nation states. For details please see

    • alexei permalink
      May 28, 2021 4:42 pm

      I thought you were a sceptic, i.e. that climate change was a natural phenomenon; your comment seems to infer the opposite. Moreover, you seem to be a fan of some global entity in charge of controlling the world’s emissions — but perhaps not the UN. Who or what do you have in mind?

  14. May 28, 2021 1:33 pm

    Simpler and much less wasteful to end this wild goose chase when climate is clearlly either or otherwise resistant to mankins influence. or changing naturally.
    NO evidence decarbonisation influences climate.

    • Broadlands permalink
      May 28, 2021 1:47 pm

      “NO evidence decarbonisation influences climate.” Agree.

      But there is plenty of evidence that it cannot even be done. (1) lowering carbon emissions does not lower the CO2 already added. (2) Urgent and rapid reductions destroy global economies. (3) CCS technologies cannot capture and store even one part-per-million of oxidized carbon by 2050…or even by 2100.

  15. Peter S permalink
    May 28, 2021 1:36 pm

    The BBC complaints people tell me that they are dealing with a “higher than normal level of cases” at the moment. This would be a good time to send them some more.

  16. Colin permalink
    May 28, 2021 1:38 pm

    Here’s what to do. Set up your own fund whose only job is to buy majority stake on oil companies to shut them. Your virtue signalling depositors will of course be losing their cash, although they might get some money back depending on how strong the market is for scrap metal is. I’d love to see Monbiot et al doing this. Go on. Put your money where your mouth is. If you all band together I reckon you can shut down ExxonMobil, although likely other producers will make up the slack.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      May 28, 2021 2:24 pm

      It won;t be their cash they are losing. They will persuade government to use your cash. In fact, that’s the whole basis of net zero.

  17. Diogenese10 permalink
    May 28, 2021 2:37 pm

    Anyone figured out how much CO2 the BBC releases transmitting their daily drivel ? Time to demand they cut their CO2 footprint .

  18. Mad Mike permalink
    May 28, 2021 3:25 pm

    What they are saying basically is that, as the banks provide finance for capitalism, they should be forbidden or inhibited from doing so. Virtually all capitalist or command economies’ endeavours will involve using energy and other resources and that means emitting CO2, whether it’s farming, mining, the oil industry, pharmaceuticals, making bitcoins, the clothing industry or making baked beans.

    I assume what Greenpeace etc really want is halt to human progress unless it is authorised by them.

  19. C Lynch permalink
    May 28, 2021 4:40 pm

    Relying on Greenpeace and WWF as credible sources on environmental issues is a bit like relying on Hamas as a credible source on Middle Eastern affairs.

    • Curious George permalink
      May 28, 2021 4:51 pm

      “the striking conclusion”. Did the Greenpeace run out of founders to strike out?

    • Martin Brumby permalink
      May 28, 2021 11:28 pm

      All three organisations are anti-human terrorist scum.
      I pray they will one day be held to account.
      But of course, today in the West, nobody is ever held to account.

  20. Harry Passfield permalink
    May 28, 2021 9:08 pm

    Just reading about Harry (that one!) claiming that mental health and climate change are linked. He actually believes the crap about the Maldives drowning! Guess he won’t be going there any time in the future or he will have some (more) bad press to contend with.

  21. mjr permalink
    May 28, 2021 9:19 pm

    just listening to BBC R2 folk show from wednesday.. the brief 9 pm news preceding it . made reference to Shell and the dutch court case and BBC with its usual impartiality then had a quote from some “friends of the earth” person with a name i didnt understand (probably dutch) whose sole purpose was to put the boot in.

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