French lender Banque Postale commits to exit oil and gas by 2030

Signs for La Banque Postale, a French bank which is a subsidiary of the national postal service, La Poste, are seen outside a Post office in Paris, March 1, 2016. REUTERS/Mal Langsdon

PARIS, Oct 14 (Reuters) - French public bank Banque Postale on Thursday committed to stop providing services to the oil and gas sectors by 2030, a day after the International Energy Agency said renewable energy investment needed to triple by the end of the decade to curb climate change.

The lender said in a statement it will no longer provide financial services like loans and payment solutions to companies producing oil and gas, claiming it was the first financial institution to do so worldwide.

Its new low carbon policy will also target companies involved in the development of infrastructure in the oil and gas sectors, Banque Postale added.

The bank said it will in addition refrain from financing oil and gas energy projects, and will gradually divest from those businesses ahead of 2030.

The IEA warned on Wednesday that renewables such as solar, wind and hydropower, along with bioenergy, needed to form a far bigger share in the rebound in energy investment after the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The world is not investing enough to meet its future energy needs," the Paris-based watchdog said, less than a month before the United Nations COP26 climate change conference starts in Glasgow, Scotland. read more

"Transition-related spending is gradually picking up, but remains far short of what is required to meet rising demand for energy services in a sustainable way."

Environmental organisations Reclaim Finance, Friends of the Earth France and Oxfam France said they welcomed Banque Postale's move.

"If all banks were to copy and paste La Banque Postale's policy, the climate would be largely spared," they said in a joint statement.

Reporting by Matthieu Protard; Editing by Jan Harvey

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