Responding to HSBC’s new energy policy released today which outlined plans to cutback lending to coal power projects, Christian Aid’s Senior Private Sector Advisor, Keval Bharadia, said:
“It is good to see HSBC finally end lending to build new coal power stations in all but 3 countries. No bank can claim to care about climate change while propping up coal, the most polluting fossil fuel. We urge other banks like Barclays and Standard Chartered to, at the very minimum, follow this lead.
“However, it’s a shame HSBC decided to keep the coal chute ajar by refusing to rule out money for new coal projects in Indonesia, Bangladesh and Vietnam and supply credit to not only coal companies but to other coal lending banks over the next five years.
“These countries have enormous renewable potential and are actively resisting coal. Indonesia for example has some of the world’s greatest geothermal and hydropower potential and possesses abundant resources for solar, wind, ocean and bioenergy development. The Indonesia Energy and Mineral Resources minister announced that no new coal plants are allowed on the island of Java. According to a recent study (IEEFA 2017), Indonesia’s energy utility projections greatly overestimate future demand growth, and recommend cancelling nine coal projects to avoid locking Indonesia into uneconomic coal contracts for decades. The huge potential for the expansion of renewable energy could benefit the hundreds of thousands of Indonesians on remote islands with no access to energy at all. Whilst in Bangladesh, this report sets out a compelling case for renewable energy that is cheaper, cleaner and more secure than fossil fuels alongside civil society concerns.
“HSBC has shown they recognise the urgent direction that banks must move in. It’s just a shame it didn’t take this opportunity to pull out of direct coal finance entirely like 13 of its European banking peers have already done."