The Earth is on fire. Literally.

Early this morning, at the headquarters of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, climate justice activists from the Koala Kollektiv set fire to a model planet Earth.

A model planet Earth was set on fire in front of the ECB headquarters in Frankfurt.

A model planet Earth was set on fire in front of the ECB headquarters in Frankfurt by the Koala Kollektiv.

The rising flames helped shine a light on the ugly truth. As the climate heats up and real fires rage across the world, the European Central Bank and its President Christine Lagarde keep fanning the flames by pouring billions of euros into the fossil fuel industry.

The European Central Bank is about to wrap up its public consultation – the results of which will help guide the Bank in setting a new strategic direction in the coming years. A commitment to stop buying assets from coal, oil and gas companies, and instead to focus on green, sustainable investments, would be a real game changer for the global financial system – and for our fight to tackle the climate crisis.


The activists at the Koala Kollektiv used theater and props to symbolise the ECB’s support to fossil fuels, and the Bank’s responsibility for the environmental destruction caused by the coal, oil and gas corporations.


The message is clear: we need the ECB and its President Christine Lagarde to choose people, not polluters. There’s no more time to waste, and the ECB must urgently stop purchasing bonds from some of the world’s worst climate criminals, like the coal, oil and gas companies Shell, Total or Fortum/Uniper.


The powerful action made some waves, and was noticed by major media outlets. A picture from the action took over the home page of Tagesschau, Germany’s biggest TV news program!


Bloomberg also reported from the action in a video, featuring footage of the Koala Kollektiv.


The climate justice activists in Frankfurt used powerful visuals to echo the demands that have received the support of 165,000 people across the world in the form of a petition addressed to Christine Lagarde, hosted by SumOfUs and 350.org.

 

Earlier this year, 24,000 people were surveyed by SumOfUs, 350.org and Reclaim Finance on what should be the European Central Bank’s priorities. The results showed overwhelming support for a new, climate-conscious strategic direction for the Bank.

People from across Europe also shared their voices – literally – demanding that the ECB stops funding climate criminals, and puts the wellbeing of people and a healthy climate first.


The conversation is changing.

We’ve heard ECB President Christine Lagarde say that “the ECB should pursue ‘every avenue’ to fight climate change”, and ECB Executive Board member Isabel Schnabel gave a speech in which she explored why, and how, the Bank should get involved in the climate fight.

But even as they say all the right things, the bankers at the European Central Bank are refusing to take a clear stand against fossil fuel finance. As they deliberate on their new strategy, they continue to fuel the fire of the climate crisis, and pump billions of euros into the fossil fuel industry through quantitative easing mechanisms, using money earmarked for emergency pandemic recovery in Europe.

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Today the ECB are wrapping up their public consultation and they might be hoping for some peace and quiet. But the bold action this morning, led by the Frankfurt-based Koala Kollektiv, is definitely not the last time the Bank will hear from climate justice activists, fire and rage included – unless they commit to stop funding fossil fuels, right now.

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