XR Islington protesters target Barclays' funding of dirty energy

XR Islington joined Money Rebellion outside Barclays at 38 Islington Green

XR Islington joined Money Rebellion outside Barclays at 38 Islington Green, as part of a global day of action to target the bank for funding fossil fuel companies - Credit: XR Islington

Climate activists gathered outside Barclays' Islington Green branch yesterday (April 1) as part of a global day of action targeting the bank for funding dirty energy.

Extinction Rebellion's (XR) 'Money Rebellion' protest was concocted to draw attention to the global financial system they say is killing the planet through fossil fuel extraction.

Since the Paris Climate Accord was signed in 2015, to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius global, banks have funnelled $2.7 trillion into oil, gas and coal companies.

Some $145 billion of that has come from Barclays, which has the worst track record of all European banks.

Campaigners from XR Islington spoke with Barclays' customers to persuade them to switch banks "so as not to fund climate breakdown, deforestation, and ecological destruction".

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Meanwhile, two protestors from XR Buddhists meditated "in protest" inside the bank. 

Shares in Barclays fell by one per cent that day, despite a one pc rise in the FTSE 100 Index. 

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In a statement provided to the Gazette, a spokesperson for the bank said that in March 2020 it had pledged for the "financed emissions" of its clients to be "net zero" in 30 years' time.

They added: “We have made a commitment to align our entire financing portfolio to the goals of the Paris Agreement, with specific targets and transparent reporting, on the way to achieving our ambition to be a net zero bank by 2050.

"We believe that Barclays can make a real contribution to tackling climate change and help accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

Non-violent direct action protesters from XR Islington said they were already aware that commitment had been made last year, but that action was not coming soon enough in light of the UN's calculation global greenhouse gas emissions must reduce by 7.6 per cent every year this decade. 

Sebastian Sandys from XR Bunhill said: "I do not expect the board of directors at Barclays to suddenly start listening to and noticing people who find their investment in fossil fuel extraction repugnant and morally reprehensible. 

"They never have before. 

"However Barclays' share price dropped sharply by over one per cent this afternoon and they have an  legal obligation and strong incentive to listen to that.

"We need an economic system that prioritises human welfare and flourishing, not infinite growth on a finite planet."

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