Goldman Sachs Becomes the Latest US Bank to Set 2030 Emissions Targets Without Ruling Out Fossil Fuel Expansion or Committing to Absolute Emissions Reductions


Gabby Brown,

Christopher Herrera, 

New York, NY – Today, Goldman Sachs became the third major U.S. bank to set 2030 emissions reduction targets under its commitment to reach net zero financed emissions by 2050.

Goldman Sachs committed to reduce the physical emissions intensity (i.e., emissions per unit of fossil fuel energy produced) of its oil and gas, power, and auto manufacturing portfolios by 17-22%, 48-65%, and 49-54%, respectively, by 2030. Carbon offsets factor into calculations of clients’ carbon intensity. Goldman Sachs did not commit to reduce its financed emissions in absolute terms.

Goldman Sachs missed the mark by not ruling out support for companies expanding oil, gas and coal — despite the fact that no investment in new fossil fuels is needed beyond current production, according to the IEA’s Net Zero by 2050 scenario. 

“Intensity-only targets are fully compatible with increases in absolute emissions and expansion of fossil fuels,” said Jason Opeña Disterhoft, senior campaigner at Rainforest Action Network. “They certainly don’t guarantee that Goldman will deliver its fair share of emissions reductions by 2030, which the bank is committed to as a member of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero. The targets’ reliance on offsets also perpetuates fossil fuel business-as-usual and threatens the rights of communities impacted by offset schemes. Goldman Sachs, like all major fossil banks, has to immediately stop financing expansion of fossil fuels and set absolute emissions targets aligned with 1.5°C. If they don’t, investors and regulators should consider their net zero commitments to be greenwash.”

"Goldman Sachs has the same problem as many of its peers of mistaking carbon intensity targets for an acceptable substitute for a meaningful emissions reduction plan,” said Sierra Club Fossil-Free Finance Campaign Manager Ben Cushing. “Achieving the net-zero target Goldman and other banks have committed to means stopping support for fossil fuel expansion immediately. Anything less is just an attempt at good PR." 

Goldman Sachs was the world’s 15th largest banker of fossil fuels in the five years after the Paris Agreement, over which time its top three fossil fuel clients were BP, Saudi Aramco, and Shell — all of which are among the world’s 10 biggest upstream oil and gas expansion companies, according to the newly published Global Oil and Gas Exit List.

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