Europe’s back in lockdown, and the European Central Bank is releasing billions of euros in pandemic relief funding – and giving it to coal, oil and gas corporations like Shell and Total.

This money is meant to help people and economies recover from the Covid-19 crisis. Instead it’s supporting companies responsible for environmental and human rights abuses across the world. ACT NOW to help stop this from happening again ➡

The Second Wave of COVID-19 is hitting Europe extremely hard. Many countries have gone back into full or partial lockdowns. Many of us have been directly touched by the pandemic, are mourning or worried about family and friends. Many of us have lost jobs, income, hope. We’re exhausted. There’s a hard winter ahead of us.

In these times of crisis, the European Central Bank and its President have a historic role to play. Since the spring they’ve been pumping hundreds of billions of euros into the economy, to stop markets from collapsing, and to give governments, banks and companies the funds to keep operating. The ECB does this by buying bonds – basically, long term low-interest debt. This is good – the problem is in what this money buys.

Money that was supposed to help pay for our public services like hospitals, schools or public transport, and help workers across Europe survive the difficult winter ahead, is being poured by the billion into the pockets of coal, oil and gas executives. Fossil fuel companies, the criminals responsible for bringing our climate to the brink of collapse, are being bailed out with public pandemic recovery money. On this list are Shell and Total, oil giants featured on the list of the world’s 20 worst CO2 emitters.

Right now, the ECB is preparing to announce and release additional hundreds of billions of euros in response to the second wave of the pandemic. This time around, they must make sure none of this money funds climate criminals. President Lagarde has a critical role to play in guiding the Bank to set clear rules, and steer Europe toward a green and just recovery.



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We can’t automate this one for you, but if you have a minute, this is a sure way for our demands to be noticed.

Here are the simple steps to take:

  1. Go to Christine Lagarde’s Facebook page.
  2. Pick one of her recent posts (doesn’t matter which one) and leave a message in a comment.
  3. In the comment, you can write how angry you feel that the European Central Bank she runs is making the climate crisis worse by funding climate criminals (like Shell, Total, Fortum/Uniper, Enel, Repsol and many others). You can ask Ms Lagarde to urgently pledge to stop funding fossil fuels by making sure that none of the new ECB recovery funding goes towards buying bonds from coal, oil and gas companies. You can also ask Ms Lagarde to prioritise funding a green, just recovery from the pandemic, and a real European Green New Deal. Make it personal if you can – say why it’s important for you.

The European Central Bank is Funding Climate Criminals

Shell, Total, Fortum/Uniper, Eni. These European companies have benefited from the ECB's bond-buying programme, and money meant for post-pandemic recovery. Here's what this money is indirectly funding.

Fracking in Argentina

Shell and Total are both involved in fracking in Argentina, which has destroyed lands and livelihoods of indigenous people.

Fracking is banned in most of Europe, so European oil corporations Shell and Total, and the HSBC bank, took their dirty business to Vaca Muerta, Argentina. There, they exploit some of the biggest shale oil and gas reserves in the world. Fracking is destroying the environment and threatening the indigenous Mapuche people’s ancestral lands and livelihoods, despite their fierce opposition.

Shell and Total have both benefited from the European Central Bank’s bond-buying programme fueled with Covid-19 economic recovery funds.

Read more about the Vaca Muerta case

Drilling in the Amazon

European fossil fuel companies BP, Shell and Total are all looking to drill for oil and gas in Brazil.

The Brazilian government is about to auction off rights to oil extraction on lands held by indigenous communities, in some of the world’s most important natural areas, including the Amazon rainforest.

European companies would trample on indigenous rights, destroy vulnerable ecosystems, and further fuel the climate crisis to fuel their greed. These same companies have benefited from the Covid-19 pandemic recovery funds under the European Central Bank’s bond-buying programme.

Read more about the Brazil oil auctions

Fossil gas in Mozambique

The French oil giant Total is driving forward a neo-colonial fossil gas mega-project in Mozambique

Total's working with the support of several European banks and governments. Since the start of the project, local people in the region have suffered a spike in human rights abuses, corruption and violence.

While Total enjoys the profits, the real price of the massive fossil gas terminal is being paid by local communities in Mozambique, with the loss of lives and livelihoods, and the long-term impacts of climate breakdown.

The European Central Bank has been supporting Total through its Covid19 response programme. You can read more about it here.

Oil Pipeline in East Africa

Total is the company behind the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline - a mega oil project to extract and transport oil for export.

Other than filling Total executives’ pockets with dirty profits, the construction of the pipeline will displace local communities in Uganda and Tanzania, destroy protected natural reserves, wreck farmlands and local people’s lives and livelihoods, contaminate local water sources and further fuel the burning climate crisis.

All this with the support of European Central Bank’s Covid-19 recovery funding, some of which has benefited Total through ECB’s unrestricted bond buying programme.

Read more about the pipeline

Why is this important? The European Central Bank has billions of euro to spend to help Europe through the coronavirus crisis. But instead of funding people and public services, they’re bankrolling fossil fuelS. Here’s all you need to know

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