By Matthew Green

LONDON, Oct 12 (Reuters)United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday urged development banks to stop backing fossil fuel projects, after a report found the World Bank had invested $12 billion in the sector since the 2015 Paris Agreement to combat climate change.

Environmental campaigners have for years tried to prevent the oil, coal and natural gas industry from producing dangerous levels of the greenhouse gases that cause climate change by persuading commercial banks to stop lending them money.

But the world’s state-backed development banks, whose support is often crucial in determining whether projects in developing countries go ahead, are also facing growing calls to starve the industry of finance.

Guterres urged a coalition of finance ministers and economic policymakers from dozens of countries to ensure development banks end fossil fuel investments and boost renewable energy.

“We need speed, scale, and decisive leadership,” Guterres said in a video message to a virtual meeting of the group.

Earlier on Monday, a report by Berlin-based environmental group Urgewald said that the World Bank had invested more than $12 billion in fossil fuels since the Paris accord, $10.5 billion of which was direct finance for new projects.

That put the World Bank far ahead of other development banks in supporting the sector, said Heike Mainhardt, a senior adviser to Urgewald, who wrote the report.

With the world already on track to produce far more fossil fuels than would be compatible with temperature goals agreed in Paris, the report questioned why the World Bank would back increased oil and natural gas production in countries such as Mexico, Brazil and Mozambique.

The World Bank said the report gave a “distorted and unsubstantiated view,” adding that it had committed nearly $9.4 billion to finance renewable energy and energy efficiency in developing

LONDON (Reuters) – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday urged development banks to stop backing fossil fuel projects, after a report found the World Bank had invested $12 billion in the sector since the 2015 Paris Agreement to combat climate change.

Environmental campaigners have for years tried to prevent the oil, coal and natural gas industry from producing dangerous levels of the greenhouse gases that cause climate change by persuading commercial banks to stop lending them money.

But the world’s state-backed development banks, whose support is often crucial in determining whether projects in developing countries go ahead, are also facing growing calls to starve the industry of finance.

Guterres urged a coalition of finance ministers and economic policymakers from dozens of countries to ensure development banks end fossil fuel investments and boost renewable energy.

“We need speed, scale, and decisive leadership,” Guterres said in a video message to a virtual meeting of the group.

Earlier on Monday, a report by Berlin-based environmental group Urgewald said that the World Bank had invested more than $12 billion in fossil fuels since the Paris accord, $10.5 billion of which was direct finance for new projects.

That put the World Bank far ahead of other development banks in supporting the sector, said Heike Mainhardt, a senior adviser to Urgewald, who wrote the report.

With the world already on track to produce far more fossil fuels than would be compatible with temperature goals agreed in Paris, the report questioned why the World Bank would back increased oil and natural gas production in countries such as Mexico, Brazil and Mozambique.

The World Bank said the report gave a “distorted and unsubstantiated view,” adding that it had committed nearly $9.4 billion to finance renewable energy and energy efficiency in developing countries from 2015-19.

The bank also

By Tom Westbrook and Alun John

SINGAPORE/HONG KONG, Oct 12 (Reuters)Short selling has declined this year as hedge funds ditch bets against a relentless, stimulus-driven stock market rally, prompting a drop in income for asset managers and brokers involved in such trades.

Figures from research firm DataLend showed stock lenders’ revenue tumbled almost 15% in the year to Sept. 30 from 2019 while revenue for the September quarter alone was $1.8 billion, the lowest in the four years of comparable records.

That drop, led by declines in Asia and the United States, shows how an apparently unstoppable equities rally has caused many hedge funds to reduce shorting, typically a crucial way of earning market-beating returns.

“It’s ‘whatever it takes,’ globally, and it is by far the most frustrating rally for all our client base,” said George Boubouras, head of research, at K2 Asset Management, a Melbourne based fund which invests worldwide.

“With so much liquidity from central banks it is a difficult macro environment to run sustained short positions.”

In one sign short interest has declined, the volume of units of the index-tracking SPDR S&P 500 ETF SPY.P on loan hit a six-month low in mid September, data from research firm FIS Astec shows.

Analysts and brokers say this trend means less liquidity for traders and pressure on those who use stock lending revenue to keep trading fees low.

Blackrock BLK.N, for example, the world’s largest asset manager, earned roughly 6% of its $3.6 billion in quarterly revenue from stock lending in the June quarter, while State Street STT.N earned about 4% of its Q2 revenue.

“For Blackrock and others, a hit to securities lending revenues is likely to be a pain point,” said Stephen Biggar, director of financial services research at Argus Research in New