Well-known names together with Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson and Mark Rylance have joined activists and companies in calling on the UK’s massive 5 banks to cease financing new oil, fuel and coal enlargement.
Make My Cash Matter, a marketing campaign arrange by Richard Curtis, the screenwriter, director and Comedian Reduction co-founder, has written to the chief executives of HSBC, Barclays, Santander, NatWest and Lloyds to induce these banks to “cease financing fossil gas enlargement”.
Curtis mentioned they wished to lift public consciousness of “the damaging relationship between UK banks and the fossil gas trade”.
Members of the general public are being invited to hitch forces with celebrities, politicians, campaigners and enterprise leaders by signing the open letter.
The decision comes days after analysis indicated that banks and finance establishments that had signed as much as net-zero pledges had been nonetheless investing closely in fossil fuels.
Make My Cash Matter pointed to a report in February 2022 from the marketing campaign group ShareAction, which claimed that in 2021 HSBC, Barclays, Santander, NatWest and Lloyds, between them offered nearly $16bn (£12.9bn) in finance to the 50 largest oil and fuel firms that had been increasing manufacturing.
Curtis’s group mentioned this was “regardless of clear steering from the Worldwide Vitality Company that we can’t develop new oil and fuel fields if we’re to restrict world warming to beneath 1.5C levels”.
The ShareAction report additionally said that between 2016 and 2021 the 5 UK banks financed the highest 50 oil and fuel expanders to the tune of a complete of $141bn (£114bn).
That is regardless of surveys which have indicated a rising public demand for banks to behave on the local weather disaster.
Virtually a 3rd (29%) of the HSBC, Barclays, Santander, NatWest and Lloyds, prospects surveyed by Make My Cash Matter mentioned they’d swap their financial institution if they found it was financing fossil gas enlargement. In the meantime 86% didn’t assume their financial institution was doing sufficient to deal with the local weather emergency.
Along with Fry, Thompson and Rylance, the high-profile signatories included the musician Brian Eno, the naturalist and presenter Chris Packham and Inexperienced MP Caroline Lucas. Companies, activists and charities that signed included Simply Cease Oil, Greenpeace UK, Save the Kids UK, Ecotricity, Ella’s Kitchen, and Triodos Financial institution.
Signatories pledge not solely to marketing campaign for change but in addition to modify to banks that don’t finance fossil gas enlargement.
Curtis mentioned: “We hope this strange coalition of activists and actors, companies and types, celebrities and local weather champions places a hearth beneath the banks to cease them setting fireplace to the world.”
In latest months, there have been strikes by some UK banks over curbing finance for fossil gas enlargement.
HSBC mentioned it introduced restrictions on oil and fuel financing final month, and the financial institution mentioned Make My Cash Matter was quoted in a BBC Information report apparently welcoming the coverage.
A spokesperson for HSBC mentioned: “HSBC goals to scale back emissions according to a 1.5C pathway to web zero whereas selling power safety, affordability and entry. Our 1.5C-aligned financed emissions targets and up to date power coverage imply we’ll not present new finance or advisory for brand spanking new oil and fuel fields or associated infrastructure, or for essentially the most carbon-intensive oil belongings.
“Supporting shoppers in high-emitting sectors to decarbonise may have essentially the most vital affect on emissions discount in the actual economic system and speed up an orderly transition to web zero.”
Lloyds had introduced in October that it will not help direct financing to develop new oil and fuel fields. It up to date its local weather coverage to make the change.
A NatWest spokesperson mentioned: “We not lend to, or underwrite, coal, main oil and fuel producers, except they’ve a reputable transition plan according to the Paris settlement, which has resulted in us committing to exit nearly £1bn of fossil gas financing. Our lending to the oil and fuel sector has diminished considerably … with publicity to the sector now making up lower than 1% of our complete lending.”
Barclays mentioned it was one of many first banks to set an “ambition” to turn out to be web zero by 2050. A spokesperson mentioned: “Many oil and fuel firms are actively engaged and significant to the transition, committing vital sources and experience to renewable power. We imagine that we will make the best distinction by supporting these shoppers to transition to a low-carbon economic system, facilitating the finance wanted to alter their enterprise practices and scale inexperienced applied sciences. The place carbon-intensive firms are unable or unwilling to scale back or get rid of their emissions, we’ll cut back our help over time.”
A Santander spokesperson mentioned: “We’re absolutely dedicated to supporting the transition to web zero and have set emission discount targets for 2030 throughout a spread of material-emitting sectors inside our mortgage e-book, together with energy era, thermal coal, and power (oil and fuel). Our lending insurance policies prohibit the financing of latest upstream oil shoppers and initiatives, amongst different restrictions, and for the previous 10 years we have now constantly been one of many largest suppliers of renewable power undertaking finance on this planet.”