Extinction Rebellion Target Institutions Funding Ecological Destruction in City of London
October 14, 2019 by Extinction Rebellion
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- At 7am hundreds of people block the streets around Bank and City of London
- Day of disruption in London to highlight the far greater disruption faced by countries around the world as a result of UK financial sector
- Extinction Rebellion calls on city workers to help highlight the impact of financial institutions on the climate and ecological emergency outside the UK
- Extinction Rebellion to hold trial of the financial sector at 12.30pm
Extinction Rebellion this morning are disrupting the system bankrolling the environmental crisis. The day started at 7am at Bank Junction when they blocked routes that financial district workers take to work.
The day of disruption, which will target financial institutions, seeks to highlight the far greater disruption faced by those living in the environments systematically being destroyed by UK backed companies. The ecological damage is global, and it is hitting the Global South now.
Coal, gas and mineral extraction, intensive farming and logging are all supported by large scale investment from the City of London. An analysis by Rainforest Action Network shows that 33 big banks provided $654bn to 1,800 fossil fuel companies last year – equivalent to 70 per cent of the total capital expenditure of the entire fossil fuel industry last year, as calculated by the International Energy Agency.
Andrew Medhurst, a former City worker now part of Extinction Rebellion, said:
“I decided to give up a thirty year career in financial services because I could no longer ignore the climate and ecological emergency. I held senior positions managing risk at both HSBC and Lloyds Bank and I know that banks would never take the level of risk that the UK government appears willing to take with the safety of its citizens and the futures of our children and grandchildren.”
Nine of the world’s top fossil fuel investors of the last three years have global or national headquarters in the City. The resources bought and sold on the London Stock Exchange include the sacred lands, water and heritage of the Global South. Trillions of pounds flow through the markets to generate profits for corporations which fund ecocide and syphon those profits into offshore accounts, where no tax is paid.
Much of the destruction being wrought against our world can be traced back to financial institutions rooted in the City.
Donnachadh McCarthy, spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion, said:
“Investing $5 trillion in a huge expansion of fossil fuels – at a time when the UN says we need to be cutting emissions radically, if we are to avoid extinction – is writing humanity’s suicide note, along with the destruction of the what remains of the natural world.
“To achieve zero carbon by 2025, we need to stop making the situation worse. The UK government needs to make these investments in new fossil fuels illegal. “This $5 trillion should be invested globally instead in the transition to a zero-carbon economy, including renewables, energy efficiency & sustainable transport, especially in the Global South.”
How this would be done fairly should be decided by the Citizens’ Assembly that Extinction Rebellion are calling for.
Carolina Rosa, spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion, said:
“Financial institutions cannot indefinitely flout their obligations to our planet and its people without consequence. The City of London is a preeminent nexus of power in the global system that is killing our world. It is the epicentre of “business as usual”, both in the UK & globally. If there is to be any hope for the future it cannot continue to operate in its present form.”
The total value of loans, bonds and shares underwritten by these banks has increased every year since the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. The biggest US banks are particularly active, we found, including JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi and Bank of America.
The City of London is one of the world’s largest financial centres for the fossil fuel corporations: city banks and oil corporations are pouring billions into new fossil fuel exploration and infrastructure, despite knowing that this will destroy any remaining hope of avoiding the UN target of 1.5C rise in global temperatures.
The Global Witness Report in April 2019 stated that $5 trillion dollars were planned for new coal, oil and fossil gas projects over the next decade.
According to a Guardian October 2019 report:
- Barclays Bank invested $60 billion dollars in 2018, making it the 6th worst in the world
- HSBC invested $40 billion, making it the 13th worst
- Santander invested $10 billion making it the 30th worst
Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England is saying that we must transition to a sustainable world. (Tokyo, TCFD Summit 2019, 08 October 2019). A new IMF report argues that “policymakers need to act urgently to mitigate climate change and thus reduce its damaging and deadly effects.
Gail Bradbrook, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion said:
“It’s time we had a grown-up conversation about the economic and legal system which is killing life on Earth. It’s time to think about what kind of finance system we need to support the thriving of life on Earth.”
Ali Brumfitt, spokesperson for the Environmental Justice Block, said:
“The fig-leaf of “shareholder value” can no longer be used to excuse the theft of indigenous lands, impoverishment of people around the world and wanton destruction of our planet’s life-support systems. We call on the Government to Act Now to end the neocolonial destruction of the natural world, restrict fossil fuel finance, and hold the ecocidal system to account. If they won’t act then we will.”
Rupert Reed, spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion, said:
“James Gorman, CEO of Morgan Stanley, said the other day: ‘If we don’t have a planet, we’re not going to have a very good financial system.” We are in the City today to name this. The City is financing climate breakdown. There will be no future unless this stops. It’s as simple as that.”
Justice: An Inconvenient Trial
At 12.30pm, Bank
The UK Finance Sector will be on trial accused of ecocide – criminalized human activity, such as causing extensive damage to ecosystems or contributing to the extinction of a species.
The sector will stand trial for its role in financing environmentally destructive projects across the globe. The trial highlights a turning point in public awareness of the role global finance companies play in the funding of ecocide, and will be brought to court by the People in a purpose built Courthouse in Bank on Monday at 12.30pm. Play written by Screenwriter Chris Anastasi (Madness in the Method).
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Notes for Editors
A case study:
Ever since gas was found in the Rovuma Basin off the coast of northern Mozambique in 2010, the communities and environment of Cabo Delgado province have borne the brunt of corporations rushing in to grab their resources.1 Anadarko, ExxonMobil, and Eni — financed by China, France, Italy, South Korea, and other governments, as well as many private banks (listed below) — are key companies involved in extracting and processing the gas.2
The projects are still in the exploration phase, but already thousands of people are being forcibly relocated.3 Anadarko and its partner companies are also proposing to build the country’s first LNG export facility on 17,000 acres on the coast — with the capacity to export nearly 23 million metric tons of LNG per year.4 With their farmland and fishing grounds being taken by multinational corporations, entire communities will lose their homes, land, and livelihoods.5 Locals will receive very few jobs, and an influx of workers from other countries and other parts of Mozambique will likely bring an increase in diseases, including sexually transmitted infections, and place a strain on already limited health-care and education resources.6
The climate impact will be significant as the production, transport, liquefaction, shipping, re-gasification, and power plant combustion of LNG is highly energy-intensive, and thus carbon-intensive; the upstream greenhouse gas emissions from LNG are almost double the greenhouse gas emissions of conventional natural gas.7The carbon emissions from the onshore and offshore projects will increase Mozambique’s total emissions by at least 8 percent.8
The environmental impact of LNG development in this region is massive. Not only will it destroy fishing grounds, but it also threatens the Quirimbas National Park, a UNESCO biosphere reserve that includes areas of pristine coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass beds.9 Dredging, waste disposal, and construction will devastate ecosystems of endangered plant and animal species.10
Dissent is met with threats from the government and private security, with police sometimes appearing in order to stop meetings. The “consultation process” is farcical, as communities cannot speak out in the presence of leaders, many of whom have relationships with the gas industry or government, for fear of threats or difficulty with any compensation that may have been promised.11 https://www.ran.org/the-understory/lng-destroys-villages/
Banks supporting this development:
- ICBC: $550 million
- Export-Import Bank of Korea: $510 million
- Bank of China: $500 million
- Export-Import Bank of China: $500 million
- Crédit Agricole: $399 million
- SMBC Group: $329 million
- Korea Development Bank: $300 million
- HSBC: $300 million
- BPCE/Natixis: $267 million
- Banco Comercial Portugues: $254 million
- BNP Paribas: $251 million
- Société Générale: $242 million
- UniCredit: $175 million
- ABN Amro: $129 million
- UBI Banca: $100 million
- Standard Bank: $75 million
About Extinction Rebellion:
Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken.
Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.
Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:
- Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
- Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
- Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
What emergency? | Extinction Rebellion in Numbers |This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook.
- In the UK, come to one of our events, join the Rebellion Network and let us know how you can help out.
- Start a group where you are: in the UK or around the world.
- Find your local group.
- Check out the International XR website, with links to the French, German, Italian and UK websites.
- And while your time and energy are of most importance, if you are financially able to donate money, see our crowdfunder.
About Rising Up!
Extinction Rebellion is an initiative of the Rising Up! network, which promotes a fundamental change of our political and economic system to one which maximises well-being and minimises harm. Change needs to be nurtured in a culture of reverence, gratitude and inclusion while the tools of civil disobedience and direct action are used to express our collective power.