Environmental groups welcome Deutsche Bank’s coal exit plan but call for greater strides
Clean Energy Wire
Environmental groups and campaigners have welcomed Deutsche Bank’s move to end its global business activities in coal mining by 2025 at the latest, and while some see a positive signal heralding the end of global investment in fossil fuels, others say more is needed. The German lender said it was adopting the new fossil fuels policy in order to help drive the transformation to a sustainable economy. The policy provides its business divisions with a strict framework for business activities involving coal, oil and gas and covers financing as well as capital market transactions. CEO Christian Sewing said the policy in its current form "will allow us to play our part in protecting the climate and helping the EU to achieve its goal of being climate neutral by 2050.”
While welcoming the step in principle, Regine Richter, energy campaigner at German environmental NGO Urgewald, said the new fossil fuel policy was not enough. “The fact that the bank wants to limit fossil fuels is a step forward that we welcome. From a climate perspective, however, it is far from being large enough. A lot more ambition is needed in 2020.”
The WWF’s Kaarina Kolle, senior finance and utility coordinator for the Europe Beyond Coal Campaign, wrote in a message on Twitter that the new policy provided “almost nothing of real substance on coal power. However, a review of clients’ diversification plans is included, which will hopefully lead to the already known conclusion that the plans are mostly misaligned with Paris.”
Others welcomed the move’s more far-reaching implications. Speaking to Canadian Press, Greenpeace Canada campaigner Keith Stewart said, "Deutsche Bank's updated fossil fuel policy is the latest warning shot telling us that doubling down on coal, oil and gas will sink our economy while destabilising the climate."
German government-owned business and development bank KfW announced it would stop financing all coal-related business activities in mid-2019 – a year in which green and sustainable finance made a steep ascent in Germany and established itself as a key element of climate policy. The government plans to become a leading location for green financial products, and there is intensifying EU regulation to make finance compatible with its Green Deal.