3rd-6th June 2024: As UN chief speaks against Big Oil, HXR hold vigils at their biggest investor, JP Morgan

Posted by: Hils - Posted on:

On 3rd and 4th June HXR members held vigils outside JP Morgan’s offices in Canary Wharf, London. On Monday they handed out leaflets to staff, explaining JPM’s role as the world’s biggest funder of fossil fuels and the impact of this on the climate and on health. Discussions were often constructive with some JPM staff clearly very concerned about the role their company plays in the climate emergency. On Tuesday, HXR members held a silent vigil outside the offices. And on Thursday 6th HXR joined Extinction Rebellion for a photographic exhibition and vigil, also at JPM Canary Wharf.

These vigils were held as record-breaking, unbearable heat was causing deaths and widespread harm in India and Mexico. And in the same week that UN Secretary-General António Guterres made a hard-hitting speech, calling fossil fuel companies the “Godfathers of climate chaos” and urging every country to ban advertising from fossil-fuel companies, in the same way that many prohibit tobacco advertising, and for news media and tech companies to stop accepting fossil-fuel advertising.

Announcing new data from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) showing there is an 80% chance the planet will breach 1.5C (2.7F) in warming above pre-industrial times in at least one of the next five years. Guterres declared that now is a “moment on truth” for climate action to keep the 1.5 degree limit in sight. The past 12 months have already breached this level, with the average global temperature 1.63C (2.9F) higher than the pre-industrial average.

In his speech Guterres gave a clear message to young people, civil society & other climate activists:

“You’re on the right side of history. You speak for the majority. Keep it up. Don’t lose hope. It’s We the Peoples vs. the polluters and the profiteers. Together, we can win.

In 2020 JPM’s own economists made clear in a stark report [2] that carbon emissions in the coming decades “will continue to affect the climate for centuries to come in a way that is likely to be irreversible,” adding that climate change action should be motivated “by the likelihood of extreme events”. Despite this JPM continues to expand its funding of fossil fuels. Data from the Rainforest Alliance ‘Banking on Climate Chaos’ report 2024 [3] shows that JPM was the leading lender to fossil fuel companies in 2023 by far, committing $40.8 billion. It was also the leading funder to companies expanding fossil fuel projects, despite the International Energy Agency being clear, three years ago, that there could be no new oil, gas and coal development if the world, in line with the Paris agreement, was to reach net zero by 2050. 

[1] UN News special coverage: Guterres issues hard-hitting call for climate action https://news.un.org/en/story/2024/06/1150616

[2] BBC. JP Morgan economists warn of ‘catastrophic’ climate change https://www.bbc.com/news/business-5158109

[38] Rainforest Alliance. Banking on Climate chaos report https://www.bankingonclimatechaos.org/