Japan's three biggest commercial banks are the world's top financiers of new coal plants, according to research released Thursday in Spain at the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Mizuho Financial Group, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group together accounted for 32 percent of direct lending to coal power plant developers since January 2017, the report by Germany-based nonprofit Urgewald, Dutch bank watchdog BankTrack and 30 other NGOs says. Their research examined loans, underwriting, bonds and shareholdings in companies that were financially invested in the expansion of the coal industry between January 2017 and September 2019.

Mizuho is the biggest lender, having poured $16.8 billion into the industry since the research began. Mitsubishi UFJ is second with $14.6 billion in contributions and Sumitomo Mitsui third with $7.9 billion. Financial institutions have funneled over $745 billion into companies planning new coal plants over the last three years, according to the report, with $159 billion of that coming from 307 commercial banks through direct loans to the developers.