Bitcoin mining’s climate impact has been heavily criticized, but corporate cash and investment emissions have often flown under the radar.
The Carbon Bankroll Report was released on May 17 as a collaboration among the Climate Safe Lending Network, The Outdoor Policy Outfit, and Bank FWD.
The collaboration made it possible to calculate the emissions generated due to a company’s cash and investments, such as cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities.
The report revealed that cash and investments are the most significant source of emissions for several large companies, such as Alphabet, Meta, Microsoft, and Salesforce.
The energy consumption of the flagship proof-of-work (PoW) blockchain network, Bitcoin, has been debated.
The network and its participants, especially miners, are criticized for contributing to an ecosystem that might be worsening climate change.
However, recent findings have also brought the carbon impact of traditional investments under the radar.
The Carbon Bankroll Report was drafted by James Vaccaro, executive director at the Climate Safe Lending Network, and Paul Moinester, executive director and founder of the Outdoor Policy Outfit.
Regarding the impact of the report, Jamie Beck Alexander, director of Drawdown Labs, stated:
“Until now, the role that corporate banking practices play in fueling the climate crisis has been murky at its best. This landmark report shines a floodlight.
The research and findings contained in this report offer companies a new, massively important opportunity to help shift our financial system away from fossil fuels and deforestation toward climate solutions on a global scale.
Companies that are serious about their climate pledges will welcome this breakthrough and move urgently toward tapping this lever for systematic change.”
A few metrics that the report highlighted regarding the climatic impact of the banking industry include:
Since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015, 60 of the world’s largest commercial and investment banks have invested $4.6 trillion in the fossil fuel industry.
Banks like Citi, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America have invested $1.2 billion in said industry.
The largest banks and asset managers in the United States have been responsible for financing the equivalent of 1.968 billion tons of carbon dioxide.
If the U.S. financial sector were a country, it would be the fifth-largest emitter in the world, just after Russia.
Compared to the direct operational emissions of global financial firms, the emissions generated through investing, lending, and underwriting activities are 700 times higher. (Cointelegraph)