October 19, 2018

Activists take climate science to fossil fuel funders

EUROPE – Following the release of the IPCC special report on 1.5 °C last week,  groups of concerned people have taken the world’s scientists’ dire warning to branches of banks funding fossil fuels.

Since mid-last week, groups have delivered the message that limiting global temperature rise to the crucial 1.5 °C mark means that fossil fuels have to stay in the ground to banks across Europe. They demand banks break their bonds with fossil fuel companies, which push the climate to the breaking point. Some of the banners during the actions read for example, “1.5°C = no new fossil fuels” or “1.5°C = no fracking”.

Tim Ratcliffe, Keep it in the ground coordinator for 350.org in Europe commented:

“Scientists have made it very clear that winding down fossil fuels is a matter of life and death for millions. The fossil fuel industry fights to expand regardless and banks provide them with crucial financial support. Every year, banks fund new fossil fuel development globally with hundreds of billions of euro. It is up to all of us to take action to break the bonds between fossil fuels and finance, and stop them from further destroying people’s lives and livelihoods.”

In France, ANV-COP21 organised over 40 actions at branches of Société Générale to demand the bank stops financing the Rio Grande LNG pipeline, which would bring fracked gas from the US to Europe. Seven thousand people marched to the Swiss National Bank and Credit Suisse in Geneva to deliver the IPCC report and demand the banks stop funding project like the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines in the US. The action was led by Collectif Breakfree Suisse. Climate activists in Lisbon, Portugal carried a cardboard pipeline to the European Investment Bank. Sinan Eden from grassroots climate action group Climáximo said:

“We walked through the streets with a cardboard pipeline, which read, ‘The EU fuels climate chaos’, to return the Portugal-Spain gas pipeline project back to the European Investment Bank here in Lisbon. We cannot accept that the EU pours public money into new gas pipelines. Ironically, they did not accept the delivery, so we had to dismantle our pipeline at the spot, as no one wanted it after all.  To avoid climate chaos, this is exactly what we have to do: stop all new fossil fuel projects and start a just transition to clean and sustainable energy sources.”

Actions have also taken place at banks in Germany, Belgium and Italy [1] with more announced over the coming days. They’ve been initiated in association with a global call to action against gas as part of the Global Gasdown Frackdown and deliveries of the IPCC report to over 100 institutions and decision makers across the globe to demand they withdraw their support for the fossil fuel industry. Payal Parekh, 350.org Programme Director, commented:

“The fossil fuel industry is knowingly causing the climate crisis. The scientific and economic case for a global transition away from fossil fuels is stronger than ever, yet national governments, financial institutions and other centers of economic and political power keep propping up this polluting industry. The IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C makes it clear that you’re either on the side of science or on the side of the fossil fuel lobby. We’re delivering copies of it worldwide to remind decision-makers that it’s high time they made a choice” .


Contact: Melanie Mattauch, 350.org Europe Communications Coordinator, [email protected], +49 151 5812 0184

Photos of the action in Lisbon are available for press on the Climáximo Flickr (credit: Climáximo). Photos of the march in Geneva are available here (note credits as specified).

Note for editors:

[1] For more details about the 1.5°C actions at banks around Europe: 350.org/an-activist-walks-into-a-bank/