Some of the biggest financial groups have helped dismantle the world. But now they are coming to the rescue.
PUBLISHED: THE HILL: Changing America by Cyril Christo, Opinion Contributor November 10, 2020
“What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?” —Henry David Thoreau
A generation ago we learned that certain rivers like the Karnali in Nepal were going to be dammed because of the World Bank; that did not make me happy. Superb, secretive tigers roamed the edge of the highest peaks on Earth, the Himalayas. Dams like the Gibe III in Ethiopia and all over the Amazon and Canada and the U.S. were also being bankrolled. The BNDES, Brazil’s National Bank for Economic and Social Development, has also invested money in dams in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Guyana. More than 150 are planned over the next 20 years. Will there even be an Amazon in that time? The hypocrisy of those who are supposedly standing for social and economic development while destroying the greatest forest on Earth is in plain sight. Analysis by Rainforest Action Network in March discovered 35 leading banks were guilty of targeting $2.66 trillion into fossil fuels. We’ve reached the point where this kind of disregard for the planet can no longer continue.
Included in the list of the banks with the greatest disregard for nature are BNP Paribas, Barclays, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Mizuho Financial, a regular who’s who of environmental desecration.
HSBC, Blackrock and AXA have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into soybean plantations that are ripping apart the most biodiverse landscape on earth in the Amazon. Some 190 signatories have signed up for the Principles for Responsible Banking, including 132 banks who combined have a total portfolio of more than $49 trillion in 49 countries. They comprise a third of the world’s total banking system. This unique initiative launched on September 22, 2019 is meant to provide a framework for society and its vision for Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement. In truth, banks are backing the largest single deforestation scheme the world has ever known. What else would account for the dismantling of wilderness areas the size of Mexico in the last decade?