Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Today is the LAST DAY of this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

TODAY is the last day to meet our goal -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year.

For Immediate Release

Contact

Adam Pawloff – Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner: +43 650 3722524, adam.pawloff@greenpeace.org

Mihaela Bogeljić – Greenpeace communications: +385 92 2929 265, mihaela.bogeljic@greenpeace.org

Press Release

ECB Injects Over €7 Billion Into Fossil Fuels Since Start of COVID-19 Crisis

WASHINGTON -

Greenpeace analysis shows that between mid-March and mid-May 2020, as part of its response to the coronavirus pandemic, the European Central Bank (ECB) purchased corporate bonds worth almost €30 billion. This included the injection of over €7.6 billion into fossil fuels.

With the purchase of bonds from just seven big polluters, the ECB contributed an estimated 11.2 millions tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere, which is more than the entire annual emissions of Luxembourg. The ECB Governing Council is meeting on 4 June to discuss a review of its monetary strategy.

The breakdown of the ECB corporate bond purchases exposes that €4.4 billion went to utilities, with prominent polluters such as Engie or EON on the list of companies whose debt the ECB has been buying. Over €3.2 billion [1], with an estimated carbon footprint of almost eight million tons, went to the oil and gas industry, with bonds purchased from Shell – one of the most polluting companies on earth – Total and Eni, among others.

The ECB is one of the biggest bond purchasers in the world and the regulator of banks in the Eurozone. Any asset purchases the ECB makes have a massive influence on the fossil fuel industry and impact both Europe’s ‘green’ recovery from the health crisis and the climate emergency. The ongoing asset purchasing programme launched by the ECB in 2014 as a response to the Euro crisis proved to be substantially destructive to climate efforts. Analysis from the London School of Economics demonstrated, for example, that although utilities make up only 5% of Euro-denominated corporate bonds, they accounted for 25% of ECB purchases [2].

“The ECB and other central banks must change their ways. The assets the ECB purchased as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic support business as usual and contribute to the climate emergency. As the climate crisis continues to escalate, we can’t afford any more public money going to fossil fuels. The ECB must exclude fossil fuels and other emission-intensive assets from future purchases.”
Adam Pawloff, Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner

Greenpeace calls on the ECB to exclude fossil fuel companies from quantitative easing, i.e. purchasing securities, largely bonds, to increase the money supply, and lower interest rates in the Eurozone. The ECB’s monetary policy review must lead to the inclusion of climate risk throughout ECB operations, whether by the exclusion of fossil fuels from collateral that banks are allowed to give the ECB when they borrow money, or by increasing the amount capital banks are required to hold when they lend money to fossil fuel companies.

###

Greenpeace is a global, independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

Texas Supreme Court Allows Century-Old Abortion Ban to Take Effect

"Extremist politicians are on a crusade to force Texans into pregnancy and childbirth against their will, no matter how devastating the consequences."

Jake Johnson ·


'What's There to Even Discuss?' Omar Says Free, Universal School Meals Should Be Permanent

"We have an opportunity to prove that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people can still deliver big things. And we can feed tens of millions of hungry kids while we do it."

Jake Johnson ·


'Stark Betrayal': Biden Administration Floats New Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling

"This is the third time since November the Biden administration has announced new oil and gas leasing plans on the Friday before a holiday," said one climate advocate. "They're ashamed, and they should be."

Jake Johnson ·


As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Indefensible': Outrage as New Reporting Shines Light on Biden Deal With McConnell

The president has reportedly agreed to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime judgeship. In exchange, McConnell has vowed to stop blocking two Biden picks for term-limited U.S. attorney posts.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo