February 26, 2021

Protests at UK embassies in the Pacific call on Bank of England to end fossil finance

Australia/ Samoa/ Fiji/ UK — Today, members of grassroots climate action group the Pacific Climate Warriors staged protests at UK embassies in Australia, Samoa and Fiji calling on the Bank of England to end fossil finance, which fuels the climate crisis that threatens life in the Pacific and around the world.

Photographer: 350 Pacific

In a peaceful show of global solidarity, activists arrived in groups to make their demands in front of the British High Commision. In Canberra, they projected an image “Bank of England End Fossil Finance now” against the embassy building, and around the Pacific activists shared pictures on social media with the hashtag #EndFossilFinance.

Joseph Sikulu of 350 Pacific says: 

“It is unfathomable that the Bank of England and UK banks are sending billions of pounds to the big polluters who are responsible for the climate emergency. Just in the last few months, the Pacific islands had to weather at least three intense cyclones that swept through our islands — and we are seeing that this frequency is increasing. In Australia, climate change has also caused out-of-control fires that have damaged our homes and claimed lives. Fossil fuel corporations have knowingly caused the climate crisis while trampling on indigenous rights, destroying livelihoods and lives across the world. Instead of bankrolling climate breakdown, the Bank of England has a responsibility to steer money away from planetary destruction and into a just recovery that puts people before polluters.”

350.org UK campaigner Anna Vickerstaff says: 

“As the referee of the UK financial sector, the Bank of England has a moral obligation to cut off the flow of finance to climate-wrecking fossil fuels projects around the world. That means ditching its own dirty bonds and preventing climate criminals from accessing money by setting rules that stop out-of-control commercial banks financing fossil fuel expansion. The UK’s public money should be spent in ways that guarantee a clean environment as a basic human right for people from the Pacific to the UK.” 

The Bank of England has channeled billions of pounds in Covid recovery money to polluters and allows British high-street banks to fund devastating fossil fuel projects from Argentina to Mozambique. Since the Paris Agreement was signed Barclays and HSBC alone have poured more than £145 billion into fossil fuel expansion and exploitation around the world. 

In solidarity with the communities fighting against fossil fuel projects financed by British banks, activists are taking part in a digital day of action targeting the Bank of England today. They will deploy a range of creative online tactics to demand that the UK’s central bank ditches dirty bonds and enforces new rules to cut the flow of finance to fossil fuels around the world.

This day of action called Climate Camp: Lockdown Edition is being supported by campaigners fighting fracking in Vaca Muerta, Argentina much of which is being supported by British banks. 

Ilan Zugman of 350 Latin America says: 

“The Bank of England needs to ensure that UK banks put an end to climate colonialism. If fracking is banned because it is unsafe in the UK, British banks shouldn’t finance it in poorer countries. Right now HSBC is funding absolute devastation in Argentina, where the livelihoods and homes of thousands of indigenous families and small farmers are hit by fracking operations supported by this British high-street bank. By financing fracking in Vaca Muerta, HSBC is profiting from environmental destruction, which on top of that is subsidised with Argentine taxpayers’ money. Public money should benefit poor families, not rich bankers and polluters.”


Contact: Melanie Mattauch, [email protected], +49 176 4703 9315

Photos of protests at UK embassies are available under: https://350org.widencollective.com/c/wkk5zrvv