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Bare minimum fossil fuel divestment policies no longer acceptable

Withdraw from Coal (WFC) lauds the speech of United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres before the UN General Assembly, calling banks and financial institutions to break their fossil fuel addiction.

UN Sec. Gen. Guterres also urged that revenues from the tax measure will be diverted towards “countries suffering loss and damage caused by the climate crisis and to people struggling with rising food and energy prices.” He makes this call amid “overwhelming public support around the world.”

“We welcome Sec. Gen. Guterres’ call and laud him for pointedly calling out banks and financial institutions that have long evaded their tremendous accountability in the destruction of our common home. With the Philippines among the most climate-vulnerable countries, reducing coal emissions is a key climate policy that will keep the 1.5-degree limit within reach. The question remains whether domestic banks and financial institutions will heed this and put into action their policies to quit financing, operating, and developing coal expansion projects,” said Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of the Diocese of San Carlos and WFC co-convenor.

“It’s high time that fossil fuel giants and their financiers are penalized and that the profits they made from the suffering of the world are diverted to abet those who are most vulnerable. It is beyond heart-wrenching to see scenes of human suffering, most recent of which is the catastrophic flooding in Pakistan, while these fossil fuel companies sit untouched and unaccountable on the pile of profits they made,” commented Gerry Arances, WFC co-convenor and Executive Director of think-tank Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development.

WFC also urged banks to craft and enact more comprehensive policies that encompass all types of coal financing.

“Philippine banks should pursue stronger policies – it is no longer sufficient to issue the minimum in fossil fuel divestment policies that only cover loans but not securities and investments. Banks risk being left behind by swiftly moving climate finance trends and weighed down by stranded assets in their portfolio. We urge domestic banks to be at the forefront of making landmark commitments to phase-out fossil fuels and usher in 100% renewable energy in the country,” added Gerry Arances.


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