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Are Big Banks Fueling Global Warming?

PNC Bank has come under fire from shareholders for lending to the coal industry. \(KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

photo of Clare Foran
February 6, 2014

In the latest front in the private sector battle against climate change, shareholders are pushing banks to disclose lending practices that contribute to greenhouse-gas emissions.

The Wall Street Journal reports that investors are increasingly filing nonbinding resolutions asking financial institutions to increase transparency around loans to the fossil-fuel industry. They are also asking the banks to assess climate-change risks related to borrowing and lending.

The tactic appears to be working. "Investors last week withdrew a climate-related resolution filed with Capital One Financial Corp., after it agreed to increase climate-related disclosures," according to the WSJ.


Others feeling the pressure including Bank of America and PNC, a bank headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that has taken heat from some investors for lending to the companies engaged in mountaintop-removal coal mining.

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