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Extinction Rebellion spray fake oil onto Barclays HQ calling on them to act responsibly and divest from fossil fuels


WEBWIRE
  • Extinction Rebellion spray fake oil onto Barclays HQ in Canary Wharf on morning of their AGM
  • They are demanding the bank work with governments to make sure the economic devastation brought by the coronavirus crisis is not in vain by resetting the skyrocketing trajectory of emissions for good, with an accelerated transition to a zero-carbon society that supports people and planet
  • The 3 activists have followed social distance rules and remained 2 meters apart while also wearing facemasks 
  • Barclays have committed to a carbon neutral date of 2050 without yet committing to stop fossil fuel investment in order to reach this target

A small group from Extinction Rebellion have sprayed fake oil onto the Barclays headquarters in London’s Canary Wharf with fire extinguishers. They came with a simple message, for Barclays to act responsibly and ‘Stop pouring billions into the fossil fuel economy’. The protest has taken place on the morning when Barclays shareholders will meet virtually for their annual general meeting (AGM). 

The group of 3 people took care to socially distance by staying at least two meters apart and wore face masks, carrying a banner with the words “Stop funding fossil fuels NOW”. They are demanding the bank work with governments to make sure the economic devastation brought by the coronavirus crisis is not in vain by resetting the skyrocketing trajectory of emissions for good, with an accelerated transition to a zero-carbon society that supports people and planet. With oil prices being at an all time low due to the pandemic, now is a time for investors to show courage and do what’s right.

The ‘oil’ used was completely biodegradable, vegan, and is easily washed off.

Extinction Rebellion spokesperson, Donnachadh McCarthy said, “It is unconscionable that Barclays Bank is using Britons’ bank accounts to invest in the very fossil fuels destroying us. Barclays must end all new fossil fuel investments immediately and instead fund the renewable green Covid-19 recovery that will give the millions of Britons losing their jobs due to the pandemic, hope for a positive future.”

In January, an influential group of Barclays Shareholders, represented by ShareAction, tabled a motion to phase out all fossil fuel investments. This will be on the table at the AGM on Thursday 7th May. Activists hope to influence the motion with action both on the street and online. 

People are being encouraged to join in the protest online and ‘swarm’ Barclays’ social media today from 11am, by tweeting at the bank with one of the following hashtags: #FossilBanksNoThanks #Divest #KeepItInTheGround #DontBankOnBarclays, #NoMoneyInOil, #FossilFuelIsDead. This action will be aimed at shareholders, big business investors and Barclays, as these are the people who will either be voting at the AGM or will know people who are.

Barclays is the biggest funder of fossil fuels, not just in the UK, but in the whole of Europe, having invested $118 billion (£95 billion) into fossil fuels between 2016-19, ahead of the UK’s second biggest fossil funder, HSBC, who invested $87 billion (£70 billion) during that time. Barclays have committed to a carbon neutral date of 2050 – a commitment designed purely to enable business as usual – however, they have given no commitment to stop fossil fuel investment in order to reach this target.[1] 

Katrin Ganswindt, Energy & Finance Campaigner at Urgewald says: “UK banks are driving the global fossil fuel expansion forward. Barclays and Standard Chartered need to work out their fossil-exit plans if they want to avoid completely embarrassing themselves at COP26. A good place to start would be to no longer provide financial services to companies expanding their fossil activities.”

Since 2016, Barclays has provided $7.4 billion in financing to companies building new coal power plants. The coal companies supported by the bank since the Paris Agreement are responsible for 120 Gigawatts of already installed coal-fired capacity. Barclays is also invested in coal companies with expansion plans: the coal expansionists in Barclays’ portfolio are planning to add a total 58 Gigawatts of new coal-fired capacity to the global pipeline.[2]

Barclays’ investments are just one prominent example of a system that places mindless fossil fuel-powered economic growth above the survival of life on this planet. It is time to change our economic system to one that prevents harm and puts people and planet above profit.

Notes to editors

[1] Barclays’ Dirty Investments: https://urgewald.org/barclays-dirty-investments

[2] The UK’s dirty coal secret: https://www.banktrack.org/download/the_uks_dirty_coal_secret/the_uks_dirty_coal_secret_report.pdf

About Extinction Rebellion

Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken.

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.

Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:

  1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

What Emergency? | Extinction Rebellion in Numbers |This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook 

Get involved

  • In the UK, come to one of our events, join the Rebellion Network and let us know how you can help out.
  • Start a group where you are: in the UK or around the world.
  • Find your local group.
  • Check out the International XR website, with links to the French, German, Italian and UK websites.
  • And while your time and energy are of most importance, if you are financially able to donate money, see our crowdfunder.

About Rising Up!

Extinction Rebellion emerged from the Rising Up! network, which promotes a fundamental change of our political and economic system to one which maximises well-being and minimises harm. Change needs to be nurtured in a culture of reverence, gratitude and inclusion while the tools of civil disobedience and direct action are used to express our collective power.


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