Nearly 100 Barclays high street branches have been shut down by Greenpeace activists this morning in protest against the bank’s continued multi-billion dollar support for fossil fuels.
Greenpeace are demanding that Barclays, the biggest funder of fossil fuels among European banks, stop propping up oil, gas and coal companies and channel funding into renewable energy.
In the early hours of the morning, Barclays branches in every UK region and cities from Portsmouth to Dundee were rendered out of action by Greenpeace activists who disabled the doors preventing staff from entering. At each of the branches targeted, images of Barclays customers bearing slogans such as ‘Stop Funding Fossil Fuels’ were plastered on branch windows.
Pop up exhibitions, maneuvered into place earlier this morning and staffed by Greenpeace activists, are currently blocking access to major branches of the bank in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London and Manchester. The exhibitions displayed photographs of some of the worst climate emergency disasters in the four years since the Paris Climate agreement was signed. The protest comes days after February was declared the wettest since records began, bringing flooding to regions across the UK.
Banks funding remains vital to fossil fuel companies. Barclays is the biggest funder of fossil fuels amongst banks in Europe, backing polluters to the tune of $85 billion between 2016 and 2018. This included huge sums globally for some of the dirtiest fuels such as coal and tar sands and fracking companies. The Bank has been under increasing pressure from investors to stop offering loans to fossil fuel companies, with Barclays expected to make a statement on the issue in the coming month.
Morten Thaysen, climate finance campaigner at Greenpeace UK said: “Barclays must stop funding the climate emergency, that’s why we’ve taken action today. From floods to bushfires and record heat in Antarctica, the impacts of this crisis are staring us in the face. Yet Barclays keeps pumping billions into fossil fuel companies at exactly the time we need to stop backing these polluting businesses.
“Banks are just as responsible for the climate emergency as the fossil fuel companies they fund, yet they’ve escaped scrutiny for years. We’ve shut down branches across the country to shine a spotlight on Barclays’ role in bankrolling this emergency. It’s time Barclays pulled the plug and backed away from funding fossil fuels for good.”