Citigroup’s latest climate targets draw criticism from activist groups

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Citigroup Inc.’s efforts to change its relationship with Big Oil to measure the amount of pollution produced by their operations before granting them loans have drawn criticism from two environmental groups for not going far enough.

Advocacy groups Stand.earth and Amazon Watch said Citi’s new goal of promoting a 29% reduction by 2030 from 2020 in emissions from its energy loan portfolio falls short of a clear commitment to put end to financing new fossil fuel projects.

In the report, Citi said halting all lending activity with oil and gas companies would be a last resort if they failed to meet its disclosure and emissions targets.

“Citi cannot call itself a climate leader as it continues to pour direct funding into oil and gas expansion projects in critical biomes like the Amazon,” said campaign manager Pendle Marshall-Hallmark. climate and finance at Amazon Watch, in a statement Thursday.

The group said Citi currently ranks as the top financier of state-owned oil companies in the Amazon, as one of the only US banks to lend to PetroEcuador, which aims to double oil production in the region.

“Citi cannot call itself a climate leader as it continues to pour direct funding into oil and gas expansion projects in critical biomes like the Amazon.”


— Pendle Marshall-Hallmark, climate and finance activist, Amazon Watch

Citi also provided a $1.3 billion loan to PetroPerú for the Talara refinery, which drew opposition from the Wampis Nation, the group said.

Citi also has ties to Brazilian oil giant Petrobras through $1 billion loans as it further develops offshore gas projects that remain ‘inconsistent with calls to end fossil fuel expansion immediately. and endanger the reef system of the Greater Amazon,” the group said.

Marathon Oil MRO,
-2.76%
and Chevron CVX,
-0.64%
rank among Citi’s top two customers and also tip the scales as two of the largest crude oil refiners in the Amazon.

Tyson Miller, Amazon campaign manager at Stand.earth, reiterated a call for Citi to end funding for oil expansion in the Amazon and other regions of global interest.

Citi has received praise for its plans to track “absolute” issuance targets for oil and gas borrowers in the Amazon as a “step toward accountability,” the groups said.

Other US banks such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPM,
-1.04%
and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS,
-1.02%
currently use less stringent “intensity” targets for oil companies.

Related: JPMorgan Chase – the oil industry’s bank of choice – will withdraw support for some fossil fuels

The groups said Citi agreed to a two-year grace period before engaging with its biggest customers such as Exxon Mobil Corp. XOM,
-1.30%
and Saudi Aramco, despite calls from groups such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for an immediate halt to fossil fuel expansion.

Citi’s report reiterated its goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions associated with its funding by 2050, which aligns with most financial services pledges.

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