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Goldman Sachs moves away from financing coal and Arctic oil

Mendeleev Prospect oil tanker
A Mendeleev Prospect oil tanker. Photo: Alexander Ryumin/TASS via Getty Images

Goldman Sachs says it won't directly finance Arctic oil-and-gas exploration, new coal-fired power plants (unless they trap carbon), or new mines for coal used in electricity.

The big picture: Those are three big pieces of the banking giant's revised climate policies unveiled over the weekend.

  • The company, via a Financial Times op-ed, also said it's aiming for $750 billion in financing, investment and advisory work over the next 10 years focused on "climate transition and inclusive growth."

Why it matters: The fossil fuel-related policies expand on Goldman's prior stance in several ways, according to environmentalists who track the banking sector.

  • For instance, restrictions on new coal-fired plants previously did not apply to developing countries, which is where planned new coal plant construction is centered.

What they're saying: The Sierra Club and the Rainforest Action Network said the policy is the strongest among major U.S.-based banks

  • However, they said it lags behind some European banks and "remains far from alignment with what is needed to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius."
  • In analysis circulated to reporters, the groups pointed to various ways in which the policy still allows finance for oil and coal-related projects and companies.

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