Bank of America Backs Off Big Coal

Today at its annual general meeting the Bank of America announced that it is cutting off credit for coal mining projects. 

"Today, our renewable energy portfolio is more than three times as large as our coal extraction portfolio," said Andrew Plepler, Bank of America's Corporate Social Responsibility.

"The transition from high-carbon energy to low-carbon energy will continue. At Bank of America, we will continue to do our part to accelerate this transition for our customers, clients and communities."

The announcement by the Bank of America comes after many years of campaigning by the environmental group Rainforest Action Network. 

“Today’s announcement from Bank of America truly represents a sea change: it acknowledges the responsibility that the financial sector bears for supporting and profiting from the fossil fuel industry and the climate chaos it has caused,” said Rainforest Action Network Climate and Energy Program Director Amanda Starbuck. “In real terms, this means the bank is turning its back on the coal mining industry and committing to energy efficiency and renewable energy.”

Major US coal producers continue to struggle and this latest news will no doubt have an impact. 

Share prices for Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU) have fallen from a high of $72 per share in mid-2011, trading today at less than $5. 

Arch Coal (NYSE: ACI) is trading today at less than $1 a share, down from a mid-2011 high of over $36 and Alpha Natural Resources' (NYSE: ANR) share price has dropped 98% in the last 4 years.