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JPMorgan debuts carbon reduction goals for clients

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A sign outside JP Morgan Chase & Co. offices is seen in New York
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By Elizabeth Dilts Marshall

NEW YORK (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co on Thursday set out mid-term, carbon reduction goals for clients, as banks face pressure to align their financing activities with their climate change commitments.

The U.S. bank is asking clients in the electric power and auto industries to meet carbon intensity reduction goals and for oil and gas clients to meet operational and end-use carbon intensity reduction goals by 2030.

"We are taking steps to address the emissions of the clients we finance," Marisa Buchanan, JPMorgan's global head of sustainability, told Reuters.

She said the targets signal the bank's expectations that its clients operate responsibly and take the steps necessary to invest in a lower carbon future.

JPMorgan is asking electric power and automakers to reduce their direct carbon emissions, such as those produced from their buildings, plus emissions from companies that provide energy or other services necessary for these businesses to operate.

The bank is asking oil and gas clients to reduce the intensity of direct and indirect emissions, plus emissions from the combustion of oil and natural gas.

Banks face growing pressure to disclose more about emissions from activities they finance.

JPMorgan along with the wider financial services industry has long been a target of climate activists which say the industry's backing for carbon-heavy projects run contrary to support of the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change.

Last month, JPMorgan said it aims to lend, invest and provide other financial services for up to $2.5 trillion of banking business to be done for companies and projects tackling climate change and social inequality over the next decade.

The bank's new carbon reduction goals for clients were welcomed by at least two environmental groups, EDF and CERES.

"We welcome the move to interim targets," said Ben Ratner, senior director at EDF. "We see JPM is starting the journey from pledges to progress."

(Reporting By Elizabeth Dilts Marshall; additional reporting by Ross Kerber. Editing by Jane Merriman)