In brief

  • In a recent report, the banks in the City of London have been ousted as massive global polluters.
  • Bitcoin has come under fire in recent weeks for its excessive energy consumption and carbon footprint.

British banks have financed projects that produce 805 million tonnes of CO2 per year, according to a report published by environmental groups Greenpeace and the WWF. The report also finds that if the City of London were a country, it would rank ninth among all countries by CO2 emissions. 

The report claims that banks in the City of London provided loans and investments for projects that emitted the lofty CO2 figure in 2019—a whopping 1.8 times the UK’s annual net emissions for the year. 

This is not the first time the industry has been ousted as a key contributor to global carbon emissions. 

In March of this year, some of the world’s biggest banks were shown to have financed the fossil fuel industry to the tune of nearly $4 trillion since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015. 

“In the five years since the Paris Agreement, the world’s 60 biggest banks have financed fossil fuels to the tune of $3.8 trillion,” the report found, adding, “Runaway funding for fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure fuels climate chaos and threatens the lives and livelihoods of millions.” 

Among these banks is British multinational HSBC, which, per the report, has alone poured over $100 billion into the fossil fuel industry. 

Bitcoin and the banks

Much like the world’s banks, Bitcoin has recently come under fire for its carbon footprint.

The report published by Greenpeace and the WWF placed the City of London among the top ten countries in the world by CO2 emissions. 

Bitcoin, by comparison, has previously been placed in the top 30 countries by the same metric. According to Cambridge University, only 39% of the Bitcoin network is fuelled by renewable energy. 

Amidst Elon Musk-inspired scrutiny over Bitcoin’s carbon footprint, Bitcoiners have rushed to compare the network with the traditional finance industry, with some pointing out that Bitcoin is greener than the petrodollar and the world’s entire oil industry. 

The findings in this report may support that view, but the fact remains—neither traditional banks nor Bitcoin are anywhere near green.