XR Glues Shut Barclays Across UK for Financing ‘Climate Breakdown’

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Original article by JESSICA CORBETT republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

Climate activists glued shut doors at nearly 50 Barclays branches across the United Kingdom on November 27, 2023.  (Photo: Extinction Rebellion)

“The inconvenience we’ve caused this morning is small in comparison to the catastrophic events already happening due to Barclays’ financing of fossil fuels,” said one campaigner.

“We have closed this bank today.”

That’s the opening line on an explanatory poster, plastered on dozens of Barclays branches across the United Kingdom on Monday.

“Barclays has been on the wrong side of history for centuries,” the poster continues. “Financing the Atlantic slave trade, apartheid in South Africa, weapons, and fossil fuels. $190 billion in finance for fossil fuels since 2015. Time to change.”

“Barclays are choosing short-term profits over a livable future and a lot of us are sick of the measly progress they’re making.”

The posters were left overnight by activists with Extinction Rebellion (XR), sister organization Money Rebellion, and allied groups, who superglued the doors shut at nearly 50 branches—inspired by a 2020 Greenpeace action targeting the bank.

“We’re responding to public attitudes and targeting the perpetrators of climate breakdown, not ordinary people, and we apologize for any inconvenience caused to staff and customers,” said an XR campaigner in a statement. “The inconvenience we’ve caused this morning is small in comparison to the catastrophic events already happening due to Barclays’ financing of fossil fuels.”

The climate groups pointed to this year’s annual Banking on Climate Chaos report, which shows that Barclays has poured $190.58 billion into the fossil fuel industry since 2015, when world leaders finalized the Paris agreement. Parties to that deal aim to keep global temperature rise this century “well below” 2°C, with an ultimate goal of limiting it to 1.5°C.

Already, “human activities, principally through emissions of greenhouse gases, have unequivocally caused global warming, with global surface temperature reaching 1.1°C,” relative to preindustrial levels, according to a March Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

A United Nations analysis published last week ahead of the upcoming COP28 U.N. climate talks projects that currently implemented policies put the world on track for 3°C of warming by 2100.

Responding to the Monday action, a Barclays spokesperson toldITV that “aligned to our ambition to be a net-zero bank by 2050, we believe we can make the greatest difference by working with our clients as they transition to a low-carbon business model, reducing their carbon-intensive activity whilst scaling low-carbon technologies, infrastructure, and capacity.”

“We have set 2030 targets to reduce the emissions we finance in five high emitting sectors, including the energy sector, where we have achieved a 32% reduction since 2020,” the spokesperson added. “In addition, to scale the needed technologies and infrastructure, we have provided £99 billion of green finance since 2018, and have a target to facilitate $1 trillion in sustainable and transition financing between 2023 and 2030.”

Climate campaigners argue that such policies are far from enough, given that the bank continues to finance fossil fuel projects.

“Barclays are pumping billions into the fossil fuel industry, completely at odds with advice from the International Energy Agency, United Nations, and IPCC,” said a Money Rebellion activist who took part in the action. “Barclays are choosing short-term profits over a livable future and a lot of us are sick of the measly progress they’re making, as they hide behind their lies and greenwash.”

Original article by JESSICA CORBETT republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

Continue ReadingXR Glues Shut Barclays Across UK for Financing ‘Climate Breakdown’

Extinction Rebellion calls out HSBC’s Greenwash at AGM in Birmingham

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At 10:30am this morning, around fifty protesters descended on HSBC’s annual general meeting at the Eastside Rooms in Birmingham to call out the bank’s shameful climate policies. It comes as the bank announces soaring quarterly profits of $12.9 billion.

Members of Extinction Rebellion Midlands and Money Rebellion arrived with a bath of greenwash, while a group of ‘dirty scrubbers’ dressed in pinafores and headscarves offered to clean up the bank’s soiled image in return for cash. 

Inside the conference centre protesters brought the AGM to a standstill as they unfurled banners, sang songs, the dirty scrubbers reappeared with dramatic skits, and people repeatedly called out HSBC’s broken promises over its climate pledges, accusing them of ‘climate genocide’ and ‘lies’. Security eventually removed protesters after 45 minutes of disruption. 

HSBC has invested $145bn in fossil fuels since the Paris Agreement in 2016 and the bank’s climate pledges have been tarnished by a series of damaging exposes. 

In December, HSBC made a surprise announcement that it was updating its energy policy and would stop new investment in oil and gas fields in an apparent change of policy. However, it’s climate pledges to date have been revealed as mere greenwash. in January, it was revealed that HSBC had given energy giant RWE a secret $340m loan as bulldozed a village to expand a coal mine in Germany, just three months after the bank had pledged to stop financing new coal. Last October, investigators showed that HSBC’s $1 trillion investment in ‘sustainable financing’ and ‘green bonds’ was being used by fossil fuel companies to bankroll mines, pipelines, and oil rigs.[4] 

Questions have also been raised about the bank’s pledge to stop direct funding of fossil fuel projects, while continuing to indirectly fund fossil fuel companies like Saudi Aramco, ExxonMobil and Shell. The bank is also financially supporting ConocoPhillips, the company behind the controversial Alaskan oil drilling Willow project. Despite its various pledges HSBC invested a total of $11.074b in fossil fuels last year.

Andrew Taylor from Money Rebellion said: “HSBC continues to fund new devastating coal,oil and gas projects. These projects destroy the health and livelihoods of communities who live near them, and are fuelling climate chaos. We will use every tool in the box to stop HSBC and other banks from pursuing this deadly business plan – from disrupting their AGMs to building the biggest bank boycott in history.”

Continue ReadingExtinction Rebellion calls out HSBC’s Greenwash at AGM in Birmingham

Climate activists disrupt financers of climate destruction Barclays Bank AGM

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Fossil Free London protest at Barclays AGM 2023.

Major disruption to Barclays AGM by Money Rebellion and other activist groups with searching questions, songs and Shakespeare

A major bank funding our extinction by pouring billions of pounds into new fossil fuel projects was left in disarray today as activists linked to a huge new climate crisis coalition disrupted their Annual General Meeting headquarters in the City of London.  

The board of directors faced constant interruption and challenge making it almost impossible for the AGM to continue. When Barclays chairman Nigel Higgins tried to outline the bank’s own climate commitments, a protester shouted “bullshit.”

At 11am teams of activists infiltrated the AGM of Europe’s biggest funder of fossil fuels, Barclays. A 70-strong Climate Choir sang a climate crisis version of the Spice Girls “Stop Right Now” to bank board members. Further disruption followed as other shareholders from Fossil Free London, with a Shakespearean condemnation of Barclays as being on the wrong side of history. 

Pulling out hidden ruffs and quills, they performed Shakespeare-based lines generated by ChatGPT about the bank’s funding of fossil fuels. Lines included: “The people thee harm, and our air thou pollute! And yet, there is more, I tell you this day, For Barclays is guilty in a vile way. Thou art on the wrong side of history, I say!”

At the action, Claude Fourcroy, of Money Rebellion, an off-shoot of Extinction Rebellion, said: “We need UK banks to stop funding fossil fuels today, but instead they are profiting from a rigged system where bankers sacrifice people and planet to make vast fortunes. This is why we have chosen to target these vastly wealthy and powerful establishments, in the interests of the public – because time for humanity and every other species on the planet is running out. 

“These banks boast about being part of the solution to the climate and ecological emergency while taking baby steps toward pulling funding for the worst fossil fuel criminals, making empty promises full of loopholes, and greenwashing on an industrial scale

“The government and Bank of England are failing to challenge or regulate the power of the banks. But people power can and will stop them. No more carbon bombs, no more genocide and no more displacement. Until the banks stop funding new fossil fuels, we will use every tool in the box to stop them, including building the biggest bank boycott in history to hit them where it hurts – in their pockets.”

Extinction Rebellion co-founder Clare Farrell said: “These Money Rebellion actions disrupting financial power holders are just the start of an unprecedented movement of movements stepping up to challenge the corrupt elite in order to drive the urgent changes we need for survival of life on this planet.”

“In this new phase of Extinction Rebellion, we are connecting across groups to build a stronger climate alliance aimed at community resilience, inclusivity and fairness for all living beings. By linking up everyone who stands for a just and rapid response to the climate crisis we will create a formidable opposition. People are determined to challenge the misuse of power which threatens to bring an end to all life if we do not stop it.”

Barclays’ AGM was targeted by activists because the bank is the largest financier of fossil fuel expansion, heavily funding new fossil fuel exploration and drilling, while issuing net zero pledges. 

According to Rainforest Action Network and Greenpeace since 2016 Barclays has been the worst bank in Europe for fossil fuel financing. In 2022 alone, the bank provided over $16 billion to coal, oil, and gas companies, and $190 billion since the Paris Agreement, making it the seventh largest fossil fuel funder in the world.

Barclays has said it is committed to aligning its financed emissions with the goals of the Paris Agreement, but in reality the bank has no policy dictating how it should reduce its financing of the oil and gas sector. Barclays is one of the only major UK banks which has not started the process of restricting financing for new oil and gas, putting it at odds with competitors HSBC, Lloyds, and NatWest.

Andrew Taylor from Money Rebellion, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, added: “As the UN Secretary General António Guterres has said, we have reached a tipping point on the need for climate action. The disruption to our climate and our planet is already worse than we thought, and it is moving faster than predicted. And what is the reaction of these banks to this frightening scenario?  

“According to the London School of Economics and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Barclays scores 0% on its commitment to achieve net-zero emissions from its financing activities by 2050 or sooner, consistent with a 1.5°C scenario. It also scores 0% on climate policy engagement.

“A more accurate title for these AGMs would be Annual Greenwash Meetings.”

Continue ReadingClimate activists disrupt financers of climate destruction Barclays Bank AGM

Climate protests news 4 May 2022

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Members of Extinction Rebellion and sister movement Money Rebellion disrupted the annual general meetings of Barclays Bank in Birmingham and Standard Chartered Bank in London demanding both banks stop financing fossil fuels. Speeches were interrupted at both AGMs, with some wearing masks of Standard Chartered’s Chairman, José Viñals, and the bank’s CEO, Bill Winters, while at the Barclays AGM protestors set off personal alarms. 

Barclays is the UK’s largest investor in fossil fuels, having put over $19.6 Billion into the industry in 2021 alone, while Standard Chartered financed over $6 Billion in the same year, ranking them the third biggest UK bank investing in fossil fuels behind Barclays and HSBC. 

Barclays and Standard Chartered AGMs are the latest to see disruption from protestors demanding an end to fossil fuel investments. HSBC’s meeting was interrupted last week with protestors singing a a revised version of the Abba hit Money, Money, Money during the chairman’s speech.

Extinction Rebellion protesters send Barclays’ AGM in Manchester into chaos

Video footage revealed shows shouting and heckling, with security officers called to attend and requests for people to be taken from the building.

Chairman Nigel Higgins was forced to pause the meeting while security removed the protesters as he was repeatedly interrupted, with the activists dominating the first 45 minutes and setting off personal alarms as he spoke. One woman protester glued herself to her seat in the audience to avoid being removed, according to reports.

Barclays Bank Oxford shut down by Extinction Rebellion protestors

South Lakes Just Stop Oil activist skips court for Warwickshire protest

A CLIMATE activist has skipped her High Court hearing to take part in a protest outside Kingsbury Oil terminal in Warwickshire.

Margaret Reid, 51, from South Lakes, joined ten other activists from Just Stop Oil at the protest and were expecting to be arrested after telling police there was a warrant out for their arrest.

It is expected that they will be jailed for their action.

Supporters of the Just Stop Oil coalition are demanding that the Government stops issuing new oil and gas licenses.

Continue ReadingClimate protests news 4 May 2022