Celebrities name on UK banks to cease financing fossil fuels

Stephen Fry Jeff Overs / BBC

Stephen Fry and Emma Thompson are amongst celebrities calling on the 5 of the UK’s largest High Street banks to cease financing new oil, gasoline and coal initiatives.

It follows criticism that HSBC, Barclays, Santander, NatWest and Lloyds are funding “fossil fuel expansion” regardless of making inexperienced pledges.

Businesses and charities like Greenpeace additionally again the marketing campaign.

HSBC and Barclays mentioned they have been serving to their shoppers to chop emissions.

The marketing campaign factors to analysis by environmental charity Rainforest Action Network, which claims that between 2016 and 2021, HSBC, Barclays, Santander, NatWest and Lloyds funnelled almost $368bn (£298bn) in the direction of the fossil gas trade.

It added that in the identical time interval, the lenders financed the 50 firms making the largest investments in oil and gasoline initiatives to the tune of $141bn.

It added that whereas HSBC and LLoyds had made “welcome new announcements” on stopping direct finance for brand new fossil gas enlargement since then, “there is a long way to go”.

“HSBC was this month found to have provided $340m to a company opening a new coal mine in Germany,” it mentioned.

The marketing campaign, which can also be backed by actor Mark Rylance and musician Brian Eno, urges the general public to signal an open letter asking the banks to cease instantly financing initiatives that develop fossil gas use, or finish relationships with shoppers that do. 

The marketing campaign’s founder, filmmaker Richard Curtis, mentioned he wished to place “a fire under the banks”.

“It’s clear that new oil and gas fields are not only hugely damaging to the planet, but they’re also wildly unpopular with the public,” he added.

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Almost one third of HSBC, Barclays, Santander, NatWest and Lloyds’ prospects surveyed by the marketing campaign mentioned that they’d change financial institution if they found that theirs was financing the enlargement of fossil gas initiatives.

Over 85% of shoppers on the 5 banks surveyed mentioned they didn’t suppose that their financial institution was doing sufficient to deal with the local weather disaster.

TV presenter Chris Packham CBE mentioned that monetary establishments had an “enormous ethical and moral responsibility” to begin withdrawing funding from organisations that broken the local weather and biodiversity.

‘Significant affect’

High Street banks have made steps to loosen their ties to environmentally damaging firms.

  • HSBC instructed the BBC it not offered new finance or recommendation for brand new oil and gasoline fields. It added that “supporting clients in high-emitting sectors to decarbonise will have the most significant impact on emissions reduction”.
  • Barclays mentioned it could scale back its help for “carbon-intensive” firms over time in the event that they have been “unable or unwilling to reduce or eliminate their emissions”. Since January 2019, it has not offered loans for the event or enlargement of coal-fired energy stations or greenfield thermal coal mines.
  • NatWest Group mentioned the financial institution not lent to or underwrote coal or main oil and gasoline producers “unless they have a credible transition plan in line with the Paris Agreement”. It mentioned this had resulted in a £1bn drop in fossil gas financing on the financial institution.

Britain’s largest home financial institution, Lloyds, introduced it could cease “direct” financing to develop new oil and gasoline fields in October. The BBC has contacted each Lloyds and Santander for remark.

Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, 197 international locations agreed to attempt to hold temperature rises “well below” 1.5C to keep away from the worst impacts of local weather change.

Experts say that to achieve this, international locations will need to have web zero emissions by 2050.