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Top fossil fuel lender JPMorgan joins UN climate action finance plan

·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: JPMorgan Chase & Co corporate headquarters in New York

By Elizabeth Dilts Marshall

NEW YORK (Reuters) -JPMorgan Chase & Co said Friday it was joining the United Nation's Net-Zero Banking Alliance, a group of global banks that have committed to dramatically reducing their carbon financing and investment activities.

As the largest U.S. bank and a major lender to the fossil fuel industry, JPMorgan has been criticized for not joining the group, which launched in April, sooner. The announcement comes ahead of next month's UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP 26, in Glasgow.

JPMorgan followed rivals Bank of America, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and others in aligning its climate plan with the UN's Race to Zero campaign.

"We are joining the Net Zero Banking Alliance because we support the ambition for greater climate action, the sharing of best practices and a collaborative approach between the public and private sectors to reach this goal," Marisa Buchanan, JPMorgan's global head of sustainability, said in a statement.

Member banks are required to submit science-based climate plans that cover all types of emissions, include 2030 interim targets and commit to transparent reporting and accounting. Banks have 18 months to set the 2030 interim targets.

Critics say the group's targets are too weak and flexible.

"Without a plan to stop funding the expansion of fossil fuels, commitments like this are completely inadequate," said Ben Cushing, fossil-free finance campaign manager at the Sierra Club.

In May, JPMorgan set out mid-term, carbon reduction goals for clients, including asking oil and gas clients reduce the intensity of direct and indirect emissions. [L1N2MZ2S4]

(Reporting by Elizabeth Dilts Marshall; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)