Well-known names together with Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson and Mark Rylance have joined activists and companies in calling on the UK’s large 5 banks to cease financing new oil, gasoline and coal growth.
Make My Cash Matter, a marketing campaign arrange by Richard Curtis, the screenwriter, director and Comedian Aid co-founder, has written to the chief executives of HSBC, Barclays, Santander, NatWest and Lloyds to induce these banks to “cease financing fossil gas growth”.
Curtis mentioned they wished to lift public consciousness of “the harmful relationship between UK banks and the fossil gas business”.
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 have 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 supplied virtually $16bn (£12.9bn) in finance to the 50 largest oil and gasoline corporations that have been increasing manufacturing.
Curtis’s group mentioned this was “regardless of clear steerage from the Worldwide Power Company that we can not develop new oil and gasoline 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 gasoline 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, clients surveyed by Make My Cash Matter mentioned they might swap their financial institution if they found it was financing fossil gas growth. In the meantime 86% didn’t suppose their financial institution was doing sufficient to sort out 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 Youngsters UK, Ecotricity, Ella’s Kitchen, and Triodos Financial institution.
Signatories pledge not solely to marketing campaign for change but additionally to modify to banks that don’t finance fossil gas growth.
Curtis mentioned: “We hope this bizarre coalition of activists and actors, companies and types, celebrities and local weather champions places a fireplace below the banks to cease them setting fireplace to the world.”
In current months, there have been strikes by some UK banks over curbing finance for fossil gas growth.
HSBC mentioned it introduced restrictions on oil and gasoline 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 cut back emissions consistent with a 1.5C pathway to internet zero whereas selling vitality safety, affordability and entry. Our 1.5C-aligned financed emissions targets and up to date vitality coverage imply we’ll not present new finance or advisory for brand new oil and gasoline fields or associated infrastructure, or for essentially the most carbon-intensive oil property.
“Supporting shoppers in high-emitting sectors to decarbonise could have essentially the most vital influence on emissions discount in the true economic system and speed up an orderly transition to internet zero.”
Lloyds had introduced in October that it will not help direct financing to develop new oil and gasoline 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 gasoline producers, until they’ve a reputable transition plan consistent with the Paris settlement, which has resulted in us committing to exit virtually £1bn of fossil gas financing. Our lending to the oil and gasoline sector has lowered 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 develop into internet zero by 2050. A spokesperson mentioned: “Many oil and gasoline corporations are actively engaged and important to the transition, committing vital sources and experience to renewable vitality. We consider that we will make the best distinction by supporting these shoppers to transition to a low-carbon economic system, facilitating the finance wanted to vary their enterprise practices and scale inexperienced applied sciences. The place carbon-intensive corporations are unable or unwilling to cut 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 internet 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 vitality (oil and gasoline). Our lending insurance policies prohibit the financing of latest upstream oil shoppers and tasks, amongst different restrictions, and for the previous 10 years we’ve got persistently been one of many largest suppliers of renewable vitality undertaking finance on this planet.”