"It's now up to the financiers and insurers of LNG to listen to us, hear stories of the impact on our kids' health, and end the financial backing of this dying industry," said one frontline organizer.
On the heels of the Biden administration pausing approvals for liquefied natural gas exports, over 100 advocacy groups on Monday wrote to major banks, insurance companies, and private equity firms, urging them to also ditch the climate-wrecking LNG industry.
"U.S. regulators are finally reevaluating their approach to the dangerous and destructive methane gas industry," said Adele Shraiman of coalition member Sierra Club in a statement. "With the Department of Energy stopping the rubber stamping of new LNG export projects in order to consider their full impact on our climate, communities, and economy, it's time for the financial sector to do the same. The message is clear: There is no place for LNG expansion in a net-zero future."
The coalition—whose organizations represent frontline communities, Indigenous land defenders, organizers, researchers, and millions of concerned citizens—called the Biden administration's late January announcement "a critical step to reduce methane emissions, phase down fossil fuels, and protect communities living with industrial pollution."
"Liquefied methane gas is toxic for the health of frontline and climate-impacted communities, and a bad investment for banks."
"Given the negative impacts of methane gas extraction and export on local communities and the global climate, this decision is morally and scientifically sound," the letters states. "We believe it is now incumbent on financial institutions to align with this decision and to end financing for new and expanding liquified methane gas (LNG) terminals and their parent companies."
"In addition to the obvious reputational and climate risks of continuing to expand liquified gas exports, we also urge your company to consider the financial risk," the letters continue. "This decision will have significant impacts on the ability for LNG facilities and their parent companies to move forward with proposed projects still awaiting approval. The future of U.S. exports of liquefied methane gas is in serious doubt and the potential of new facilities quickly becoming stranded assets is real."
The coalition pointed to research showing that "the top 60 global banks have provided over $122 billion in lending and underwriting to the world's top LNG companies since 2016," and even customized the letters to individual banks to highlight specific contributions. For example, the groups wrote to Bank of America's CEO that "your bank has one of the highest exposures, providing at least $7 billion to the global LNG sector during this period."
The coalition also sent letters to the leaders of Citi, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, ING, JPMorgan Chase, Mizuho Financial Group, Morgan Stanley, MUFG, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Scotiabank, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, and Wells Fargo, as well as insurers and the investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
"Major fossil fuel financiers like Citi and RBC should read the signs that the fossil fuel era is over, and end their financing for methane gas expansion now," said Hannah Saggau, a senior climate finance campaigner with coalition member Stand.earth. "Liquefied methane gas is toxic for the health of frontline and climate-impacted communities, and a bad investment for banks. It's time for fossil banks like Citi and RBC to stop holding us back from a climate-safe world."
Roishetta Ozane, founder of Vessel Project of Louisiana and Gulf fossil finance coordinator for Texas Campaign for the Environment, called on the financial industry to listen to people impacted by the sector.
"Families and communities that live beside methane flaring, leaks, and even explosions welcome the change in U.S. policy, but it's just the start," Ozane said. "It's now up to the financiers and insurers of LNG to listen to us, hear stories of the impact on our kids' health, and end the financial backing of this dying industry."
Other coalition members include 350.org, ActionAid USA, Amazon Watch, Bold Alliance, Catholic Network U.S., Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action, Earthworks, Friends of the Earth, Gidimt'en Checkpoint, Hip Hop Caucus, Indigenous Climate Action, Leadnow, New York Communities for Change, Oil Change International, Presente.org, Rainforest Action Network, Stop the Money Pipeline, and Third Act.
"The world said in Dubai it was time to transition away from fossil fuels—this means that no one should view LNG as safe, either for the climate or as an economic asset," declared Third Act co-founder Bill McKibben, referring to last year's United Nations
climate summit. "The world has begun to move, and that move will accelerate."