Barclays Bank

Three Questions about Occupying Barclays by Peter Darby and Kelly Moorhouse.

Why Barclays?

Barclays is the high street bank which is most heavily invested in the fossil fuel industry.

Barclays, the top European banker of fracking and coal, leads as the worst European bank, with $85 billion poured into fossil fuels and $24 billion into expansion.1

Quite apart from the ecological damage, many economists warn that investments in carbon producing industries are at the top of a financial bubble, potentially greater than the lending fuelled bubble which crashed the world economy in 2008.2

We hope by drawing attention to their support of the most damaging industries, this will push Barclays towards divesting in the genocidal, over-inflated bubble that is the fossil fuel industries. 

Barclays have already seriously reduced their investment in North American tar sands exploitation, following pressure from Europe. Now it’s time for them to turn to investment in the world of 2030 and beyond, not the short term profits of 2019.

We’re not accusing the employees or customers of Oswestry Barclays of anything: we’re hoping that by drawing attention to the frankly genocidal decisions of the investment directors of Barclays, that they can also put pressure on Barclays to divest themselves of intensive carbon creating investment, or take their money to more ethical and less damaging institutions.

 

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Why Now?

Honestly, the best time to have done this was decades ago. The science has been settled since the 70’s at least. 

Over the last forty years, we have had the chance to manage a graceful transition to a post-fossil fuel world. We’ve missed that chance.

The only hope is to act now, within the next few years to mitigate the worst of the damage of climate chaos. Just in the last week, temperature records have been broken across Europe. The current climate is historically unprecedented.

We’re at the stage when the effects of a year’s increased carbon output will take decades to slow the effects of, and perhaps centuries to reverse.

Promises of carbon neutrality by 2050 are being made in the face of reports that say that unless the world is carbon neutral by 2030, we cannot restrict the global temperature rise to an already disastrous 1.5 degrees.

Personal efforts like reducing plastics, meat consumption and transport usage are necessary, but not enough. Unless there is concentrated movement away from fossil fuel consumption on an international, governmental and corporate level, reduced personal consumption is just re-arranging furniture on the deck of the titanic.

It was estimated in 2017 that over 71% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the world were being produced by just 100 companies.3 Companies that big only listen to three things: profit, investment and government oversight.

Pressure on all three of these are necessary. As demand for fossil fuels drop, at least partly through personal choices by the mass of the fuel consuming population, but also through governmental action, profits from carbon creating industries will drop. Corporations only exist through the legal structures of national governments, who have the power to make demands of corporations to act as responsible citizens or face dissolution. 

And they rely on the investment of massive financial institutions like Barclays. When investors withdraw their funds, corporations wither.

We’re doing this now because we have to do everything now. We are out of time and options.

 

Why me?

I have no regular employment, my children are grown, I have no dependents. The people in my family and household fully support my actions. Rather than someone with workmates and family relying on them keeping out of trouble, I can take that risk without fear of letting anyone down.

More importantly, as the mother of two young adults, I cannot face the idea of not doing everything I can to ensure that they can enjoy something of a less broken world as they go through their lives.

But really, why me? Why not me? Why not you? I’m not special. I’m not filled with a great destiny to change the world. 

Why me? Because everyone has to do everything, right now, because anything less is not enough and too late.

1https://www.banktrack.org/download/banking_on_climate_change_2019_fossil_fuel_finance_report_card/banking_on_climate_change_2019.pdf

2https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/environment/2019/07/how-carbon-bubble-could-create-another-global-financial-crisis

3https://b8f65cb373b1b7b15feb-c70d8ead6ced550b4d987d7c03fcdd1d.ssl.cf3.rackcdn.com/cms/reports/documents/000/002/327/original/Carbon-Majors-Report-2017.pdf?1499691240

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