Wall Street Lobbyists Admit Big Banks Don’t Plan to Honor Their Climate Pledges

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Wall Street lobbyists told regulators that the biggest banks's pledges to reduce investments in carbon-emitting industries are merely “aspirational.”

The Bank Policy Institute did not respond to a request for comment on whether it expects banks’ public commitments on climate change to be taken seriously. Representative Tlaib said the remarks show big banks attempting “to avoid necessary oversight of their climate pledges.”

The public commitment language drafted by the OCC and the FDIC is arguably the strongest part of the proposed guidelines. The agencies aren’t seeking to force banks to divest from carbon-emitting energy sources like oil, gas and coal, and even supporters of a stringent banking regulatory framework on climate risk concede that regulators lack the authority to order firms to wean themselves off of certain types of energy investments, even if they wanted to.

“Given these challenges, financial institutions relying on these technologies in their net zero plans should have to demonstrate specific, committed projects that are fully proven to reduce carbon safely and permanently at scale, and appropriately incorporate the cost of both funding and adequately monitoring those commitments into their profitability forecasts,” Public Citizen said. “No projects currently meet these criteria, and there may be none for decades, if ever.


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