Over the last several months, some of the nation’s biggest banks announced they will not finance new oil and gas development in the Arctic. The new policies are the first steps by American banks to restrict lending to the oil industry, and they come after years of campaigning by environmental groups.

But a close look reveals that the policies may not amount to much at all. That’s because they generally limit only direct funding for Arctic operations, while banks rarely, if ever, provide such loans.

In fact, amid trillions of dollars in energy industry financing that advocacy groups have tracked over the last few years, not a single loan represented the type of deal that would be prohibited under the new policies.

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