Skip to main content

Common Dreams. Journalism funded by people, not corporations.

There has never been—and never will be—an advertisement on our site except for this one: without readers like you supporting our work, we wouldn't exist.

No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news and opinion 365 days a year that is freely available to all and funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

Our mission is clear. Our model is simple. If you can, please support our Fall Campaign today.

Support Our Work -- No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. Please support our Fall Campaign today.

Sign reads: Finance the future not fossil fuels

Goldman Sachs said Sunday it would not finance new Arctic oil drilling or exploration or new thermal coal mines and coal-fired power plant projects worldwide. (Photo: ItzaFineDay/flickr/cc)

'This Is a Big Deal': Goldman Sachs Rules Out Funding New Coal Projects, Arctic Oil Drilling

"The smart money on Wall Street is drawing red lines on oil and gas, and exiting coal."

Andrea Germanos

Goldman Sachs earned cautious praise from environmental advocacy groups Sunday after the bank announced it would not finance new Arctic oil drilling or exploration and ruled out funding new thermal coal mines and coal-fired power plant projects worldwide.

"This new policy from Goldman Sachs raises the bar for other U.S. banks if they want to be taken seriously on climate change," said Jason Opeña Disterhoft, climate and energy senior campaigner at Rainforest Action Network (RAN).

In its new energy policy Goldman said, in part:

We recognize that we have an impact on the environment through our operations, our investments, and the production and services we finance on behalf of our clients. As an institution that brings providers and users of capital together, we believe that capital markets can and should play an important role in addressing environmental challenges including climate change.

The commitment related to Arctic drilling and exploration, Goldman said, "includes but is not limited to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge." The Trump administration has pushed to open the previously protected area to fossil fuel exploration despite Indigenous opposition and threat of adverse ecological impacts.

"The Trump administration may not care about ignoring the will of the American people or trampling Indigenous rights, but a growing number of major financial institutions are making it clear that they do," said Sierra Club campaign representative Ben Cushing. "Goldman Sachs is right to recognize that destroying the Arctic Refuge would be bad business."

Sierra Club, in its press statement, said that Goldman is the first major U.S. bank to make the commitments not to fund new coal projects or Arctic oil drilling. Still, the bank—which ranked this year among the "top dirty dozen" banks in terms of fossil fuel financing—must go further in terms of climate commitments, added Sierra Club, saying that Goldman Sachs did not rule out funding new fracking and tar sands projects.

According to 350.org founder Bill McKibben, Goldman's new commitment "leaves a lot to do, but it's a big start—such thanks to all who have fought to make it happen!"

Among the grassroots activists engaged in that is the Gwich'in Steering Committee, who see the threat of their sacred land in the Arctic being pillaged by the Trump administration's possible fossil fuel plunder.

Sierra Club and RAN say it's now up to other financial institutions to make similar moves—and for Goldman to be even bolder in its climate commitments.

"Goldman Sachs's updated policy shows that U.S. banks can draw red lines on oil and gas, and now other major U.S. banks, especially JPMorgan Chase—the world's worst banker of fossil fuels by a wide margin—must improve on what Goldman has done," said Opeña Disterhoft. "The writing was already on the wall for coal financing," he added. "Goldman Sachs's new policy puts that writing in flashing neon."

"The smart money on Wall Street is drawing red lines on oil and gas, and exiting coal. The big money has to respond, or it will be left holding the bag," Opeña Disterhoft said. "Over to you, Jamie Dimon and JPMorgan Chase."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Watch: Bernie Sanders Argues 'We Must End the Greed of Big Pharma'

The live address comes as the Senate Budget Committee chair continues to push for including Medicare expansion and drug pricing reforms in the Build Back Better package.

Common Dreams staff ·


McDonald's Workers Join 'Striketober' and Walk Out Over Sexual Harassment

One striker participated because "McDonald's still refuses to take responsibility for the countless women and teenagers who face harassment on the job at its stores across the globe."

Jessica Corbett ·


Breaking: FDA Panel Recommends Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine for Kids 5 to 11

With just one abstention, the advisory panel voted 17-0 to approve the vaccine for younger children which scientific review has deemed both safe and effective against the deadly virus.

Common Dreams staff ·



Sunrise Movement Corrects Manchin: US 'Has Done More Than Any Other' to Cause—Not Solve—Climate Crisis

"Sen. Manchin is clearly drafting his climate plan with false information. At worst he's telling us lies given to him by his fossil fuel donors. At best, he's misinformed."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo