A multitude of banks have pledged to help fight climate change, but new research has shone a light on numerous climate-based conflicts of interest many bank leaders have that cast a shadow of doubt on their pledges.

A study conducted by climate influence analysts for the blog DeSmog found that 65 percent of bank directors have ties to what they termed climate conflicted organizations. The ties range from working with oil and gas companies, to funding lobbying groups against lowering fossil fuel pollution, to holding advisory roles at mining and manufacturing companies.

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“The fossil fuel industry has a well-established track record of ingratiating itself with society’s opinion leaders and decision makers,” Geoffrey Supran, research associate in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University, told Desmog.

“Having its fingers in all the pies allows the fossil fuel industry to quietly put its thumb on the scales of institutional decision making, helping delay action and protect the status quo,” he said.

In the United States, 17 percent of bank directors were found to have ties to think tanks and lobbying groups “that had campaigned to weaken climate change measures.” For example, six directors of JP Morgan had such ties, and the company has spent $317 billion funding fossil fuel sectors since the Paris agreement came to be.

A specific group of banks have come to the forefront recently for offering billions of dollars in loans to funding the renovation and addition of the Line 3 pipeline, an oil sands pipeline, in Minnesota. The pipeline is estimated to produce carbon emissions equal to that of 50 coal plants.

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Of the four U.S. banks funding it in loans — JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Citigroup — all four have recently issued net-zero climate pledges.

Of the four U.S. banks funding it in loans — JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Citigroup — all four have recently issued net-zero climate pledges.

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