Barclays bank targeted by climate activists over fossil fuels Business News

A quarter of Barclays customers say they would consider switching banks if they didn’t take more ambitious climate action, according to a new poll, as a report calls the bank ‘worst in Europe’ for finance fossil fuels.

The poll commissioned by the campaign group 38 degrees and shared exclusively with The Independent found that 26% of the bank’s customers said they would likely consider moving their money if it did not present a more ambitious plan than its proposed climate strategy voted on at its annual general meeting in Manchester on Wednesday.

This plan includes a 2020 ambition to be net zero by 2050 and to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions – known as scope 1 and 2 emissions – by 90% from 2018 levels. by the end of 20. It also plans to source 100% renewable electricity. for its global operations at the same time.

The 90% reduction does not include so-called “Scope 3” emissions, which come from all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain, such as employee travel.

A file image of a sign above the entrance to a Barclays Bank branch in Knightsbridge London

(Getty Images)

The strategy also states that the bank aims to reduce financed emissions in the energy, power, cement and steel sectors by the end of 2030, including reducing total energy emissions – scope 1, 2 and 3 – by 40%. By 2023, the plan says the bank aims to not fund new customers engaged in thermal coal mining and not fund existing customers who generate more than 30% of revenue from thermal coal mining. .

But some customers aren’t convinced it goes far enough.

“It’s all well and good for Barclays bosses to sit down and look at their balance sheets at the end of the year and see how much money they’re making,” said one customer who took part in the survey.

“But, unless they start balancing their books with the environmental destruction their investments are causing, I will close my account.”

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, a group of protesters gathered outside the venue for the AGM meeting to demand that the bank stop funding fossil fuels. Extinction Rebellion later claimed to have discredited Barclays’ annual general meeting.

Protesters also disrupted the Standard Chartered bank’s annual general meeting which was taking place in London on Wednesday. A Standard Chartered spokesperson declined to comment on the protest.

The disruptions follow a similar stunt at HSBC’s AGM on Friday, in which an ABBA flash mob erupted into song during the chairman’s speech.

A statement from Fossil Free London, a group campaigning for a London beyond fossil fuels, quoted the latest Fossil Fuel Financing Report. which found that Barclays is “the worst” bank in Europe for financing fossil fuels in the six years since the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015. The Paris agreement aims to maintain the increase in average global temperatures “well below” 2 degrees Celsius, ideally no more than 1.5°C, above pre-industrial levels.

According to the Fossil Fuel Finance Report, produced by Rainforest Action Network and other groups, Barclays funded fossil fuels with $167bn (£133bn) between 2016 and 2021 and is the 7th ‘worst’ bank in the world for financing fossil fuels.

Ros Rice, a protester from Liverpool, who planned to join the protests, said: ‘We the taxpayers bailed out the banks in 2008 and now they are saying thank you by driving us to destruction with heavy investment in fuels fossils.

“They couldn’t be more callous.” Rice said in the statement released by Fossil Free London.

Last month, the final chapter of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report revealed that global greenhouse gas emissions will need to peak before 2025 to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. .

“It is a shameful record, cataloging the empty promises that put us firmly on the path to an unlivable world,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, introducing the release of the new report. “We are on the fast track to climate catastrophe.”

The Independent has contacted Barclays for comment.

The poll was carried out by JL Partners, a polling firm, which polled a representative sample of 1,033 people in Britain on April 28, the data was weighted by age, gender, region and past vote, 38 Degrees said. .

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This notice was published: 2022-05-04 13:40:12

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