26th February 2024: North West HXR members join Chester Barclays protest

Posted by: Hils - Posted on:

February 26th marked the first day of business for Barclays in their new branch in Town Hall Square, Chester.

Members of HealthforXR joined CheshireXR, MerseysideXR and Christian Climate Action, to mark the occasion, holding a banner with the slogan  “For Health’s Sake Stop Financing New Fossil Fuels” and handing out leaflets to customers and passers by. These explained Barclays’ role in funding fossil fuel companies and the climate emergency and how individuals can easily change their bank to one that support fossil fuel companies (such as BP and Shell( to one that does not. 

HXR protestor Cliff, said “Changing bank is easy, and one useful website explaining your options and what to do is switchit.green. It’s one of the most effective things you could do to help combat the climate emergency”. Cliff went on to say: ”Corporations constantly fail to see past their responsibilities to shareholders to consider the broader consequences of their financial support. If we don’t call-out the moral failures of companies such as Barclays, to the extent it impacts profit, we can only expect overt abuse to follow under the excuse such behaviour is essential to remain a viable business.”

See Twitter links here and here

According to the report ‘Banking on Climate Chaos’ 2023 Fossil Fuel Finance Report researched and written by a collaboration led by the ‘Rainforest action project’, Barclays is the 7th largest banking investor in fossil fuels globally, and the leading European banking investor in fossil fuels. Since the Paris Agreement of 2015 (which laid out the conditions that must be met in order to have a 50% chance of limiting global heating to 1.5 degrees) Barclays has invested over £43 billion in new fossil fuel projects, and a total of almost £150 billion.

Recent news that Barclays will stop directly funding new fossil fuel development has been welcomed by the group, but they point out that this is nonsensical when it is providing money to companies who are doing exactly that due to the money not being ring-fenced: BankTrack – Barclays publishes new energy policy – ShareAction response

The International energy agency’s 2021 report aimed to set a road-map to net-zero by 2050 for the global energy sector. This report clearly states that investment in new fossil fuel extraction is not consistent with achieving net zero by 2050. The situation is now even more urgent and the Secretary General of the United Nations issued a statement in April ‘22: “global emissions must fall by 45% by 2030……we cannot afford slow movers” Warning Global Emissions Must Shrink 45 Per Cent by 2030, Secretary-General Tells Non-State Expert Group World Cannot Afford Slow Movers, Greenwashing | UN Press

A paper published in Nature (Tong et al. 2019) estimated that existing oil infrastructure (in 2018) was already set to produce more than the total carbon budget for limiting global heating to 1.5 degrees heating (50 to 66% probability). 

In the unprecedented 40 degree heatwave of 2022 almost 3000 excess deaths were reported in the UK Heat mortality monitoring report: 2022 – GOV.UK and there are approximately 40,000 deaths in the UK  linked to air pollution (largely due to the burning of fossil fuels) each year: Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution | RCP London

By 2050, unless sufficient action is taken to reduce the use of fossil fuels, there will be severe flooding in Chester, with a return to the port that was here in Roman times before the estuary of the river Dee silted up: Climate Central

“What we are asking”, explained Cliff, “is for Barclays to produce and implement a policy for ending all types of financing for fossil fuel companies, and to drastically increase the financing of clean energy such as wind and solar. “