• 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

  • 2023421.08ppm

Macquarie's well-known headquarters in the Australian capital of Sydney
News & Views

Do billions in oil and gas investments undermine Macquarie’s net zero commitments?

Investors are urged to question why the Australian banking giant straddles the net zero fence with large investments in both renewables and oil and gas production

Despite presenting itself as a leader in the global transition to net zero emissions by 2050, Australian banking giant Macquarie Group has come under fire for its oil and gas investments.

Simply put, they are at odds with the 1.5°C goal, according to a new report that is making headlines down under.

In October 2021, Macquarie Group signed up to the international Net Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA), committing to aligning the emissions from its lending and investment portfolio with the goal of restricting global warming to below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Since then it has invested heavily in oil and gas companies with aggressive expansion plans that include the controversial Beetaloo Basin gas project, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis wrote in a damning report this week. 

"Macquarie’s actions directly contradict its net zero commitments,” said one of the report's authors, IEEFA Australia CEO Amandine Denis-Ryan.

Hard numbers

The report speaks for itself. Macquarie Group’s oil and gas investments since joining the NZBA include a 5% stake in Beach Energy, a company targeting aggressive new developments across five different basins in Australia and New Zealand in the next two years.

Also, the bank provided a $15 million loan to Empire Energy to support the development of the Beetaloo Basin gas project, a shale gas deposit that is Australia’s largest undeveloped gas resource.

And then there is an undisclosed contribution to the issuance of a A$3 billion loan for US company Southwestern Energy, whose expansion plans would create more CO2 than Australia’s total emissions in 2021.


"Macquarie’s actions directly contradict its net zero commitments."

Amandine Denis-Ryan

To achieve the global goal of 1.5°C, both the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have said that any new developments in oil and gas are "incompatible" with that goal.

Yet, Macquarie Group owns relatively large amounts of shares and bonds in 11 of the largest global oil and gas majors, worth about around A$3.5 billion.

Source: The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, Australia

According to Denis-Ryan, those companies are all planning major short-term expansions, representing billions of barrels of oil equivalent and gigatonnes of CO2 emissions.

It also has high stakes in nine relatively smaller oil and gas companies with "aggressive growth plans", in which it has another A$1.4 billion in investments, she noted.

“The investments identified in this report add up to about A$5 billion," Denis-Ryan continued, adding that "a more comprehensive analysis of Macquarie Group’s exposure to upstream oil and gas companies through shares and bonds, excluding loans, found about A$7.7 billion of exposure."

She pointed out that these numbers are significantly larger than the disclosed financing exposure to the upstream oil and gas sector by three of Australia's other big banks: CBA disclosed A$2.1 billion, NAB A$1.9 billion and Westpac A$1.9 billion.

Disclosure 'weaknesses'

The report also identified a number of 'weaknesses' in Macquarie Group’s disclosures and targets.

“Macquarie Group disclosed only A$1.2 billion of financing exposure to the full oil and gas value chain," Denis-Ryan said.

“The discrepancy between reported and actual exposure may be explained by the disclosures focusing only on on-balance sheet activities,” she added.

“If so, Macquarie Group's disclosure on financed emissions appears to be exploiting a loophole in the NZBA guidelines, which do not mandate member banks to establish targets for their fossil fuel exposure through off-balance sheet activities.”


"The discrepancy between reported and actual exposure may be explained by the disclosures focusing only on on-balance sheet activities."

Amandine Denis-Ryan

Given that Macquarie Group has a much larger asset management portfolio than banking portfolio and is a participant to the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative, Denis-Ryan said would be "a reasonable expectation" that it discloses its off-balance sheet equity and bonds investments in the oil and gas sector and includes those in its targets.

It already includes assets under management in its disclosed green energy investments.

Denis-Ryan called the target it set for its oil and gas activities as part of the NZBA initiative "inappropriate."

"As an emissions intensity target, it does not require the group to achieve any reductions in its absolute financed emissions,"

"On the contrary, the target could provide an incentive to increase the financing of gas projects so as to decrease the average emissions intensity of its oil and gas portfolio," she concluded.

When approached by Net Zero Investor, no one at Macquarie Group was available to comment.

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