As one of the top international banks involved in lucrative coal finance deals around the world, BNP Paribas is directly responsible for fuelling the expansion of an energy source that is both wrecking the climate and destroying local communities.
BNP Paribas, as the top financer of coal in France, and the 9th largest backer of the coal sector in the world, is among the most controversial corporate sponsors of the international climate talks to be held in Paris this year. Between 2005 and April 2014, the French bank has contributed no less than 15.6 billion euros to the coal sector (mines and coal-fired power plants) .
Coal is not only the main source of global greenhouse gas emissions; coal mines and coal-fired power plants are also a major source of air and water pollution, resource depletion, and social disruptions for neighbouring communities. Despite this, coal use has been growing at an exponential rate in the past decade.
Beyond the obvious villains, the mining and power companies, the global banking sector plays a key role in bankrolling the coal industry and making the continuation of coal extraction possible in spite of its climate footprint and its disastrous impacts. Every year, through project and corporate loans, or bond and share underwriting, international banks such as BNP Paribas have been handing out billions of euros to fund the operations of coal mining or coal-based power companies, and provide crucial assistance to the development of new large-scale coal projects .