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Coal lending phaseout urged

BANKS have been urged to phase out coal lending entirely as a report showed 15 local banks released over $13 billion to finance coal projects in the past decade.

The Coal Divestment Scorecard, published by the Withdraw from Coal (WFC) Campaign, showed that 15 local banks channeled $13.42 billion to coal developer companies and coal projects from 2009 to 2019.

“Philippine banks and other financiers have caused the expansion of coal in the past decade, thanks to their financial services to coal developers and project. Withdraw from Coal continues to urge Philippine banks to have policies and timelines to phase out coal in their work,” said Bishop Gerry Alminaza of the Diocese of San Carlos, co-convenor of WFC.

The Coal Divestment Scorecard, based on a criteria launched by the network of civil society groups, church leaders, environmentalists, and faith-based groups was released earlier in May.

WFC since engaged with these banks to ensure a participative grading process, an effort which was varyingly welcomed by at least eight banks.

“We, however, appreciate how open the bank has been to engaging with stakeholders in WFC, and believe that its score would improve in future rounds of grading, if only the hopes they shared for a power portfolio dominated by renewables by the end of this decade will be translated into a public position against coal,” said Gerry Arances, executive director of the Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED).

“It is our hope that through this initiative, we are able to assist the banks in reevaluating their responsibilities in the climate sphere and towards the Filipino public,” Alminaza said.