On Saturday 24th October the Extinction Rebellion Chelmsford group targeted local banks to demand they withdraw from damaging investments in fossil fuels, to raise awareness amongst the public about what their money is being used to fund, and encourage them to switch to ethical banking alternatives.
The environmental action group assembled outside major banks in Chelmsford, including Barclays and HSBC, observing social distancing measures, with some members carrying placards and others pouring fake ‘oil’ over tubs of paper money.
Vote with your wallet — move your money and custom away from companies and organisations that contribute to environmental breakdown.
See our post on ethical banking to find out how you can help The Climate Crisis by changing your bank.
And see this page if you would like to join XR Chelmsford. There are many ways you can contribute, either in-person (when we’re not in lockdown) or from home.
The action was intended to highlight the role of the banking sector in perpetuating the current climate crisis. Climate breakdown is already leading to droughts, wildfires and flooding which devastate communities around the world. In the past four years alone UK banks have invested £150 billion to fund Fossil Fuel projects* and collectively hold 146 investment pots in firms driving rainforest deforestation
Barclays currently funds the laying of the North Dakota Access Pipeline, as well as having billions of assets in oil, gas and coal extraction globally.
A report from the Rainforest Action Network and the BankTrack group, which analyses the investments of banks around the world, found Barclays was the worst European bank for fracking and coal. They found Barclays had invested $85bn in fossil fuels between 2016 and 2018 and $24bn in further expansion. HSBC and Santander were among other offenders on the list, with HSBC funding over $86 billion and Santander contributing over $25 billion to fossil fuels in the same period.
Investment in new fossil fuel extraction, infrastructure, and power flies in the face of the clear and urgent need for a rapid decline in the use of fossil fuels. The companies, and the banks that finance them, have a responsibility to stop building new coal mines and power plants, and stop opening new oil and gas fields. Banks need to drop their support for dirty energy, investing instead in renewable energy, insulation of buildings and other ways to reduce carbon emissions to prevent imminent planetary collapse from man-made climate change.
Extinction Rebellion demands we tell the truth about climate breakdown, let people know who is financing continued exploitation of the planet, and encourage them to think about where their money is invested. Concerned customers can evaluate their own banking situation here.
See the Banking on Climate Change 2020 report here.