CommBank – Worst climate policy of Australia’s big four banks

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$0 billion
loaned to dirty fossil fuels globally since 2008

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The Commonwealth Bank has loaned $7 billion to the dirty coal, oil and gas sectors since supposedly committing in 2015 to help limit global warming to less than two degrees. This is nearly four times the amount they’ve loaned to renewables.

Worse still, our latest research calculates that since 2015 CommBank has loaned to new fossil fuel projects that, over their lifetimes, would enable another 2.9 billion tonnes of CO2 to be released into the atmosphere. That’s enough to cancel out the gains made by Australia’s emission reductions target nearly three times over.

New fossil fuel projects are the most detrimental in terms of global chances of keeping the planet on track to meet its Paris climate targets.

CommBank had a chance to redefine its climate change approach with the release of its new Climate Policy Position Statement in August 2017. But this do-nothing policy failed to place any tangible constraints on fossil fuel lending, allowing CommBank to keep  lending to projects that expand the scale of the industry.

Take action: tell Commbank 2 degrees means no new fossil fuels


Commbank’s global fossil fuel lending since 2°C commitment


Has Commbank fulfilled its commitments on two degrees?

In late 2015, Commonwealth Bank publicly committed to taking action to support the international aim of keeping global warming to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. But as the scorecard shows, CommBank’s recent activity is completely inconsistent with that commitment.

A two degree warming limit gives us a very strict carbon budget to work within, meaning 80% of known fossil fuel reserves must stay underground if we are to have even a 75% chance of not exceeding the limit.

What does this mean for Commbank? A good place to start would be a policy that excludes new investments which expand the fossil fuel industry. Beyond this, the bank must commit to actively managing down its exposure to fossil fuels, and become coal-free in five years.

Click here to learn more about the big banks and 2°C.

Since 2°C commitment:

  • lending to fossil fuels
  • $0 million
  • Total lending to expansionary projects
  • $0 million
  • fossil fuel vs renewables lending
  • $3.80 : $1

  • Total emissions enabled
    (tonnes CO2)
  • 2.9 billion

  • Policy to reduce fossil fuel exposure?
  • FAIL

  • Policy restricting fossil fuel lending?
  • FAIL

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How is Commonwealth Bank expanding fossil fuels?

Despite its two degree commitment, Commbank continues to loan to companies and projects that are expanding the fossil fuel industry.

One of the most shocking examples of Commbank’s disregard for its two degree commitment came in November 2015, when the bank loaned $49 million to a new deepwater oil drilling project. The new Heidelberg field sits 1620m below sea level around 225km off the Louisiana coast.

That makes it a relatively close neighbour to the Horizon deepwater oil project, where an explosion in 2010 caused one of the worst environmental disasters in recent history.

Learn more

Find out more about the extent and impacts of banks financing fossil fuels, compare the lending positions of different banks and learn more about how to switch to a bank that aligns to your values.

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2°C scorecard

Learn how the banks are using your money to expand fossil fuels.