Barclays ‘determined’ to pump more money into renewables as war rages on

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(Bloomberg) – Barclays Plc plans to step up funding for renewables as Russia’s war on Ukraine adds urgency to move away from fossil fuels.

“The appalling invasion of Ukraine has made it even more imperative to accelerate the energy transition,” Barclays Chairman Nigel Higgins said on Tuesday.

Barclays expects recent events to boost “demand for investment in low-carbon energy infrastructure”. The bank said in a climate strategy report that it was “committed to financing, on an even larger scale, the investments needed for the transition”.

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The outbreak of war in Europe and its fallout on energy markets threatens to complicate the race against global warming. Higgins said climate commitments may now be harder to keep. And he predicted a “volatile and non-linear” path to funded emission reductions, citing factors “outside our control”.

Since signing the Paris climate accord in 2015, Barclays has taken on more than $58 billion in fossil fuel-related bonds, more than any of its European peers, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In the same period, he helped arrange over $40 billion in green bonds, ranking him fifth in Europe.

Barclays said it is aiming for a 30% reduction in the CO2 intensity of its energy portfolio by 2025. The company also intends to reduce the absolute emissions of its energy portfolio by 15% over the course of the year. same period.

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The UK bank plans to reduce the carbon footprint of lending and underwriting in the highest emitting sectors in its portfolio, and has added cement and steel targets to existing energy and electricity targets. The bank’s chief executives will also see their pay affected, with Barclays promising to align pay with meeting its climate targets.

According to ShareAction, a London-based nonprofit, Barclays’ climate targets are not ambitious enough. She therefore urges investors to vote against the bank’s climate proposals.

“By not updating its oil and gas policy, it can continue to fund misaligned Paris activities such as the tar sands and new oil and gas,” Lydia Marsden, head of research at ShareAction, said in a statement. communicated.

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“Investors need to ask themselves whether Barclays’ policies and goals really mark progress or instead allow its customers to continue doing business as usual,” she said.

Other British banks are also trying to restore their climate image amid accelerating global warming and a war-fueled energy crisis. On Wednesday, NatWest Group Plc announced plans to submit climate resolutions to shareholders at this year’s annual general meeting, marking a first for the lender.

“Addressing climate change is a key strategic priority for NatWest Group,” Chief Executive Alison Rose said in a statement. “It is also a priority for many of our shareholders, and we want to work with all of our stakeholders to help shape our future climate planning, execution and reporting.”

Earlier this month, HSBC Holdings Plc vowed to ‘step down’ its funding of the fossil fuel industry, sending a warning to oil and gas customers as the bank strives to meet its zero emissions target net. The measure is in line with “what is needed to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius”, HSBC said last week.

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