For the first time, a recent report called The Big Smoke calculated the climate impact of one of the world’s financial centres – London.
Oil, gas, and coal only get dug up and burned once there is financing in place to do so, meaning banks, asset managers, and pensions can be complicit in driving our planet towards climate disaster unless they have policies in place to end this destructive practice – and many don’t.
The study quantified the financed emissions of 15 banks and 10 asset managers based in London and found them responsible for financing 805 million tonnes CO2e each year, almost twice the size of ALL UK emissions.
Subsequent studies may take this methodology and apply it to other financial centres like Toronto, home to Canada’s big banks which we already know pour hundreds of billions into fossil fuels.
This shines the spotlight on the role of financial regulators like Canada’s Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) which are letting the financial industry drive climate risk to existential threat levels. It’s past time our elected officials changed the rules such that our banks don’t drive us all collectively over the cliff.