On October 31, government officials, business leaders, activists, and Hollywood celebrities gathered in Glasgow to begin the two week-long blast of hot air that was the 26th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework on Convention on Climate Change (COP26). The stated purpose of the meeting, as with the 25 COPs before it, was to secure commitments from governments around to world to fight climate change.
Analysts and COP26 attendees had high expectations for the conference, with many suggesting it could be the most important since the 2015 summit, the event that produced the Paris Climate Accords.
Bankers Fighting Climate Change?
Many important figures, including Joe Biden, and groups played a pivotal role at the conference as a speaker or negotiator, as well as outside the conference, including protesters critics like those who gathered at The Heartland Institute’s Climate Reality Forum. But, perhaps the most important active participants at COP26 were the members of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, a powerful group of banks that have committed to using their tremendous economic weight to push societies toward adopting “green” energy sources such as wind and solar.
The Net-Zero Banking Alliance developed in April 2021, with support from the United Nations and Prince Charles’s Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI). SMI first emerged at a January 2020 World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, and it served as a co-sponsor of the WEF’s controversial “Great Reset” agenda in June 2020.
Members of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, which includes 84 large banks from 36 countries, have pledged to “transition all operational and attributable GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions from our lending and investment portfolios (emphasis mine) to align with pathways to net-zero by mid-century, or sooner, including CO2 emissions reaching net-zero at the latest by 2050.”
Member banks have also promised, “within 18 months of joining” the alliance, to “set 2030 targets (or sooner) and a 2050 target, with intermediary targets to be set every 5 years from 2030 onwards.”
The decision to “transition all operational and attributable GHG emissions” from “lending and investment portfolios” is an incredibly important development. In practice, it means that banks are planning to effectively force businesses, investors, and perhaps even everyday Americans to adopt policies in line with banks’ climate change agenda, regardless of whether they want to or can afford it.
Banks Dictating Personal/Business Decisions
Based on discussions and commitments at COP26, the Net-Zero Banking Alliance expects to expand its membership and commitments in the months ahead.
For the present, under the terms it has set, banks could deny business loans to a delivery company that refuses to switch to an all-electric vehicle fleet. Similarly, banks could deny access to financial services, including checking and savings accounts, to investment firms that hold stock in fossil-fuel companies.
Eventually, it might even be impossible for American families to gain access to a mortgage without first proving they are “green” enough.
So far, seven of the largest and most influential banks in the United States have joined the alliance, including three in October alone: Amalgamated Bank, Bank of America, Citi, J.P. Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Wells Fargo.
Together, these banks control trillions of dollars in assets and dominate most of the consumer banking industry. Of the five largest banks in the United States, four are now members of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, and it’s highly likely more will follow.
Limiting Banks Power Is Necessary
Banks should not be permitted to discriminate against customers or potential customers because they participate in lawful business practices.
Allowing banks to collude to reshape economies so that they are in line with the preferences of banks and other financial institutions is a very dangerous precedence.
Even if you believe climate change is a crisis, you shouldn’t support giving to banks this tremendous amount of control over society, because once they firmly have it, they’ll be able to manipulate the global economy in any way that they please. There would be nothing to stop them, for example, from refusing to provide banking services to religious or political groups they don’t support, or to social media platforms that have content restriction policies banks disagree with.
Climate, Government, Banks
Decisions about climate change and other important issues should be made at the state and federal levels by elected politicians who can be held accountable and were chosen directly by the people for that very purpose.
Banks and corporations, which only exist in their current form because of special government regulations, taxes, and legal protections should not have the power to use the advantages society has given them to punish people with whom they disagree.
The American people never voted to give banks this sort of control over our country, and under previous administrations, discriminatory policies such as these would not have been permitted. Our elected officials must stand up against these tyrannical institutions now, before the problem gets even more difficult to solve.
Justin Haskins (Jhaskins@heartland.org) is the director of the Stopping Socialism Center at The Heartland Institute and the co-author, with Glenn Beck, of the forthcoming book, The Great Reset: Joe Biden and the Rise of 21st Century Fascism.
This is an updated and modified version of an article that was originally published by the Washington Examiner and is reprinted with the permission of its author.