From hurricanes in the Caribbean to wildfires on Saddleworth Moor, climate change is devastating communities around the world. And according to the IPCC, we only have 11 years left to act to limit the worst of the crisis.
If we’re serious about preventing catastrophic warming, this means we can’t build any more fossil fuel infrastructure. Rather than digging more coal mines, drilling more oil fields and building more pipelines, we need to radically transform our energy infrastructure and build a green economy for the many.
In order to win this fight, we need to take on the banks. Although fossil fuel companies have a lot of money, they don’t have the billions of dollars needed to build their infrastructure. This is financed by banks.
One of the biggest culprits is Barclays. A new report has shown Barclays is the worst bank in Europe for financing fossil fuel projects, funding fossil fuel companies to the tune of $85bn since the Paris Agreement was signed at the end of 2015. A decade ago the banks crashed the economy. This time they’re crashing the climate. But we can stop them.
Right now people are demanding action on climate change. From the movement pushing for a Green New Deal in the US, to the youth climate strikes taking place in over 50 countries around the world and Labour’s plan for a Green Industrial Revolution in Britain, people are calling on governments to decarbonise our economies, invest in renewables and create millions of good green jobs.
But in order to win, we need to break the chain of fossil fuel finance. This means taking on the banks that fund climate breakdown.
We’ve done it before, and won. In the 1980s, British students targeted Barclays, demanding the bank withdraw from the apartheid regime in South Africa - and won. In recent months, renters’ union ACORN have pressured NatWest into dropping their clause that forced buy-to-let landlords from discriminating against welfare claimants.
And with only limited grassroots effort from People & Planet campaigners, Barclays has already begun to concede. In May 2017, the bank’s chairman told shareholders Barclays would be withdrawing its financing of a company licensed to frack in Ryedale. This was due in part to the hundreds of creative direct actions taken by students at Barclays branches across the country.
If we beat Barclays, we can land a fatal blow to the fossil fuel industry. But we can only beat Barclays by working together. Find your local action and on March 30th help us bankrupt climate change!