U.K.-based international bank Barclays announced a new energy policy that significantly restricts the bank’s financing for the exploration or extraction of oil and gas in the Arctic.
The policy rules out funding for companies seeking to drill in the Arctic Refuge as well as other climate change threats.
According to the British multinational investment bank and financial services company headquartered in London, arctic oil and gas refers to new exploration and extraction of oil and gas in the area within the Arctic Circle which is subject to sea ice, and includes the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and the Coastal Plains.
The ANWR is a particularly fragile and pristine ecosystem which is central to the livelihoods and culture of local indigenous peoples.
Barclays Energy and Climate Change Statement said: “Any client conducting new exploration of or extraction of Arctic oil and gas will be subject to Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD),” and the bank “will conduct EDD on any financing transaction directly connected with the exploration or extraction of oil or gas in the Arctic.” Critically, the policy notes that “under the EDD framework, we would not expect such project finance proposals to meet our criteria.”
The announcement from Barclays is the latest in a series of major financial institutions rejecting drilling in the Arctic. Some of the world’s largest banks have made similar commitments, including HSBC, BNP Paribas, Royal Bank of Scotland, Societe Generale, and others.
Recently leaders from the Gwich’in Steering Committee and the Sierra Club have met with representatives from Barclays to discuss the threats fossil fuel operations pose to the Arctic Refuge and why action by the financial industry is necessary, said Sierra Club.
“Major financial institutions are beginning to stand with the overwhelming majority of Americans and doing what the Trump administration refuses to do: protect the Arctic Refuge. Drilling in the Refuge would be disaster for wildlife, the climate, and the human rights of the Gwich’in Nation,” said Lena Moffitt, Senior Director of the Sierra Club’s Our Wild America campaign.
“Barclays’s announcement is further proof that drilling in the Arctic Refuge would be a bad bet for any company foolish enough to pursue it,” Lena added.
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