• Atmospheric CO2 /Parts per Million /Annual Averages /Data Source: noaa.gov

  • 1980338.91ppm

  • 1981340.11ppm

  • 1982340.86ppm

  • 1983342.53ppm

  • 1984344.07ppm

  • 1985345.54ppm

  • 1986346.97ppm

  • 1987348.68ppm

  • 1988351.16ppm

  • 1989352.78ppm

  • 1990354.05ppm

  • 1991355.39ppm

  • 1992356.1ppm

  • 1993356.83ppm

  • 1994358.33ppm

  • 1995360.18ppm

  • 1996361.93ppm

  • 1997363.04ppm

  • 1998365.7ppm

  • 1999367.8ppm

  • 2000368.97ppm

  • 2001370.57ppm

  • 2002372.59ppm

  • 2003375.14ppm

  • 2004376.96ppm

  • 2005378.97ppm

  • 2006381.13ppm

  • 2007382.9ppm

  • 2008385.01ppm

  • 2009386.5ppm

  • 2010388.76ppm

  • 2011390.63ppm

  • 2012392.65ppm

  • 2013395.39ppm

  • 2014397.34ppm

  • 2015399.65ppm

  • 2016403.09ppm

  • 2017405.22ppm

  • 2018407.62ppm

  • 2019410.07ppm

  • 2020412.44ppm

  • 2021414.72ppm

  • 2022418.56ppm

News & Views

BNP Paribas taken to task over fossil fuel funding reductions

Called out as one of the world’s largest banks backing the fossil fuel industry, BNP Paribas has strengthened its commitment to the low-carbon transition but is still falling short of activist expectations

Content Tags: Banking  Activism  France 

BNP Paribas’ “most ambitious” new plans to slash its financing of fossil fuel extraction and production did not convince campaign groups earlier this week, at a time when the French banking giant is wrangling over potential climate change litigation.

Last October, Notre Affaire à Tous (NAAT), Oxfam France and Friends of the Earth France put the company under formal notice to comply with its legal obligations under the French Corporate Duty of Vigilance Law.

Adopted in 2017 by the Parliament, the law states that large French companies must establish a plan to identify and prevent risks related to human rights, health, safety and the environment stemming from their activities.

BNP was given three months to present a map detailing risks of serious harm from its activities in the fossil fuel sector, procedures to evaluate its value chain and actions to align with a cap in temperature rises to 1.5°C, among others.

The eurozone’s biggest lender said on Tuesday it would reduce by the end of the decade its outstanding financing for oil extraction and production by over 80% from current levels to less than €1bn, and by more than 30% for gas.

“Translation: a commitment that does not cover all of its fossil fuel support activities and that does not put an end to the financing of new oil and gas projects,” the three associations wrote in response.


[BNP’s new plans are] the most ambitious fossil fuel exit target that exists among global banks today.

Antoine Sire, head of company engagement, BNP Paribas

Low-carbon energy targets

However, for Antoine Sire, head of company engagement at BNP, these new plans are “the most ambitious fossil fuel exit target that exists among global banks today”.

The Paris-based firm, which also set a €40bn target in outstanding financing for the production of low-carbon energies by 2030, said these new objectives were not a response to the notice.

“On one hand, it’s part of the elements that push us, and we do not deny it; on the other, the method surprised us as we discovered the official notice in the press,” Sire told Net Zero Investor in an interview.

Reclaim Finance pointed in a statement to “relatively ambitious” 2030 goals, but said that BNP was not "taking any steps” to make sure it does not support fossil fuel expansion or convincing clients to stop doing so as soon as possible.

“It would have been much more appropriate to call on companies to abandon their new oil projects and to make the provision of new services conditional on compliance with this demand in the short term,” its founder and director, Lucie Pinson, said.

Sire said BNP had just provided a letter in response to the formal notice that ended on 26 January, the first step towards resolving a potential climate litigation case.


It would have been much more appropriate to call on companies to abandon their new oil projects and to make the provision of new services conditional on compliance with this demand in the short term.

Lucie Pinson, founder and director, Reclaim Finance

Lack of communication

The bank, however, did not reach out directly in the past three months, Justine Ripoll, a spokesperson on the case and a campaign manager at NAAT, told Net Zero Investor in a call earlier this month.

“We did not get an answer from BNP, even to know their feeling. Do they consider that it is completely unjustified, that there are things on which they were already working on to improve them?”

Sire said the surprise news of the notice had not encouraged the discussion with the three associations.

“From there, we said to ourselves … that we had to continue to do the work that we were doing and then, on the other hand, we still had to respond to the formal notice in the given legal time.”

Ripoll pointed out that BNP had been more receptive to another notice sent in October by NAAT and Brazilian association Comissão Pastoral da Terra. This relates to BNP’s financial support to Brazil’s second largest food processing company, Marfrig, which has been accused of involvement in illegal deforestation, forced labour and indigenous land rights violations.

“They are attacking us on a subject for which we have the best practices amid global banks,” Sire argued, as BNP will require all its clients to provide full traceability of beef and soy supply chains by 2025.

The bank said in its climate analytics report last year that it was supporting players able to massively finance the ecological transition and diversify into less-emitting sources of energy, while no longer financing “unconventional” oil and gas projects since 2017.

But looking at its overall commitments, Ripoll noted “a real desire to integrate flaws” by displaying objectives that look strong but in terms of real impact on emissions, are actually minor.

“The fact that multinationals have evolved in a blind spot of international law and law in general is something that has been true for at least 50 years, so succeeding in bringing these multinationals back into the bosom of the law … will take time.”

Investment in renewables

According to a January report by international campaign groups, including BankTrack, Rainforest Action Network and The Sunrise Project, BNP backed the largest fossil fuel expanders with more than $7bn between April 2021, when it joined the United Nations’ Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA), and August 2022.

Sire said it was “unrealistic” to stop financing oil overnight or to stop supporting all the players in the energy market, because part of the low-carbon transition would be achieved with players that are now making fossil fuels.

‘’If we stay in the energy market, it’s because we think … that we can accompany this movement.”

The International Energy Agency (IEA), which Sire suggested as BNP’s “first reference”, reported in its latest energy forecasts that investments in renewables needed to reach around $1.3trn each year by 2030 for the world to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Ripoll said some companies had come to NAAT following the formal notice to show that, “since they have avoided the first bullet, they want to set things right because they do not want to find themselves in face of a similar action”.

“Beyond condemning and moving BNP, there is always (another) objective in all litigations, it’s to move the sector,” she said.

If, after analysis of its answer, BNP is considered to have failed to meet the requirements under the vigilance law, NAAT, Oxfam and Friends of the Earth could choose to take their case to the Paris court.

Content Tags: Banking  Activism  France 

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