Yesterday Reuters reported:
Bank of America announced Wednesday it will reduce its financial exposure to coal companies, acknowledging the risk that future regulation and competition from natural gas pose on the industry.
The bank announced its new coal policy at its annual meeting, saying it would cut back its lending to coal extraction companies and coal divisions of broader mining companies.
“Our new policy reflects our decision to continue to reduce our credit exposure over time to the coal mining sector globally,” said Andrew Plepler, head of corporate social responsibility at Bank of America.
The announcement comes amid a growing fossil fuel divestment movement, in which universities, churches and large asset owners are being pressured to abandon or curb their investments in high-carbon energy.
Global bank HSBC said in a client research note in April that the recent drop in energy prices has put a spotlight on “stranded” fossil fuel assets, making them a risk to investors.
Here we see CSR and Climate Change considerations making their way into one our nations systemically important and indispensable banks. More work is to be done, though, as BofA shareholders also rejected a resolution requiring the bank to report on its impact on climate change from financing fossil fuel projects.
And while many claim that renewables are only competitive due to subsidies. Setting aside the fact that fossils also are heavily subsidized, solar along with other renewable energy technologies, have also seen a dramatic fall in costs, in the range of more than 60 percent over the last five years. This why nations like Britain that have scoffed at renewables now feature investors and developers actively bringing it online as an energy source.
Nonetheless, despite efforts by various groups like the Alabama Wind, an anti-clean energy group with a notably Orwellian title and whose logo on its Twitter page states “Defend Your Property Rights”, the horse is out of the barn. Or as one solar installer put it in a quote in the New York Times:
The lumbering big utilities that are so used to taking three months to study this and then six months to do that — what they don’t understand is that things are moving at the speed of business. Like with digital photography — this is inevitable.