Air pollution from planned new coal plants built by companies in which HSBC holds ownership stakes will cause an estimated 18,700 global deaths, close to half in India, from air pollution per year, a new research from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) said on Wednesday.
The air pollution from these coal plants, when they are completed, will also lead to 29,000 emergency room visits due to asthma, 25,000 preterm births and 14 million days of work absence per year.
The health impacts amount to $6.2 billion per year, with projected deaths highest in India (8,300 deaths per year), followed by China (4,200), Bangladesh (1,200), Indonesia (1,100), Vietnam (580) and Pakistan (450).
The study builds on an April 2021 investigation by environmental organisation Market Forces, which showed that HSBC holds ownership stakes in coal companies via its asset management arm.
These companies together plan at least 73 new coal plants (137 individual coal plant units), generating 99 gigawatts (GW) of energy from coal. CREA then used this data to analyse air pollution deaths caused per year when all 73 plants are completed.
HSBC has acknowledged that its plan to end coal financing by 2040 does not include its asset management arm.