Today is a day of action against the banking industry for its role in continuing to fund fossil fuels. The challenge of the global climate crisis is well understood, but the allure of fossil fuels remains strong. The projects are just so big and so profitable. Banks and investors continue to pump money into new coal, oil and gas, with the 60 biggest banks pouring $3.8 trillion into the sector in the last five years.
That’s since the Paris Agreement of course, and directly in opposition to its central aims. The people who will benefit from this are the climate privileged elites, who are for the most part insulated from the crisis they help to perpetuate. Those who will suffer first will be far away, in some of the world’s poorest countries. Most of them will be people of colour.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The Bank of England has made tentative steps to acknowledge the climate crisis. When funders decline to fund fossil fuels, projects don’t happen – as we saw recently when Bangladesh failed to find investors for 9 new coal power stations and pulled the plug on them. A growing list of banks and organisations have chosen to divest from fossil fuels, with the latest round of campaigning focusing on council pension funds. It is possible to make a difference and to use money for good.
For a comprehensive overview of this subject, see the new report from Rainforest Action Network, Banking on Climate Chaos – also summarised in the video below.