HSBC, Europe’s largest bank, has set itself up as a climate leader, announcing in March their plans to divest from future investment in coal.
However, HSBC later announced exceptions to this policy — in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam. And they continue funding climate-crippling projects already in the construction phase, such as the Kusile coal power plant in South Africa.
South Africa hosts the world’s largest concentration of coal power plants in the world, producing the worst pollution hotspot for NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) on the planet – which the coal power plants produce. Nitrogen oxides are dangerous air pollutants that can “cause respiratory symptoms and lung damage on acute exposure, increasing the risk of chronic diseases in long-term exposure”.
While bankers in the north get rich, the global south suffers — and the banks call it development.
HSBC’s policy could encourage other fossil fuel funding banks to set up their own loopholes and double standards for bankrolling dirty energy in developing countries. We want an end to racist, exclusionary and exploitative policies. HSBC must divest from all dirty energy projects, and commit to a 1.5 degree future by ending backing to companies and projects that are jeopardising that future.
GET INVOLVED- READ THE STORY OF SOUTH AFRICA’S POISONED AIR