Wells Fargo Catches Up to Peers in Setting Net-Zero Financed Emissions Goal Short on Details


Jonathon Berman, jonathon.berman@sierraclub.org

New York, NY -- Today, Wells Fargo became the last major U.S. bank — following Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Citi, and Goldman Sachs — to make an explicit commitment to achieve net zero financed emissions by 2050. JPMorgan Chase also previously pledged to align its financing with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Wells Fargo also committed to disclose its financed emissions and set interim emissions reduction targets “for select carbon intensive portfolios — including the oil and gas sectors, and power sector — no later than the end of 2022.” However, Wells Fargo’s announcement did not include any explicit details on how it will start cutting financed emissions to move toward its long-term target, and the bank told CNN it is leaving the door open to continued financing of fossil fuels.

The Banking on Climate Change 2020 report showed that Wells Fargo was the world’s second largest funder of fossil fuels in the years following the adoption of the Paris Agreement, pouring $198 billion into the coal, oil and gas industry from 2016-2019. The next edition of the report, set to be released later this month, will provide updated numbers and policy scores on banks’ fossil fuel financing.

Last year, a coalition of more than 60 climate and human rights organizations around the world issued a set of Principles for Paris-Aligned Financial Institutions that details what true climate leadership from banks and other financial institutions would look like to meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

In response, Sierra Club financial advocacy campaign manager Ben Cushing released the following statement:

“While we’re encouraged to see Wells Fargo catch up to the pack making these long-term  commitments, Wells Fargo -- like all major U.S. banks -- has a long way to go to stop fueling the climate crisis. What’s clear is that “net zero by 2050” is the new baseline for climate action on Wall Street, but what matters most now are concrete actions in 2021 to stop funding fossil fuel expansion and setting a timeline for phasing out fossil fuel financing overall. There’s no time left for banks to ponder how to start addressing the biggest and most obvious drivers of the climate crisis.”


About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.