“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.”
So charges Morten Thaysen, climate finance campaigner at Greenpeace UK, with activists closing down Barclays branches up and down the country.
They accuse Barclays of being the biggest funder in Europe of coal, oil and gas companies with $65 billion loaned since 2015.
“Behind every fossil fuel company is a bank. Barclays is the number one European bank funding fossil fuels, pouring billions into climate-wrecking companies,” Greenpeace says.
They want banks to refocus on funding renewable energy companies with this action potentially raising awareness of how banks considerably affect the economy, for good or bad, by deciding without much oversight who to lend to and how much.
Bitcoin has also come under criticism by activists for its considerable energy demand, but miners say they mostly use renewable energy, in particular hydraulic power.
They further argue the ruthlessly competitive nature of mining is likely to lead to significant innovation in the renewables industry to bring down costs and to scale the water, wind, or sun harvesting technology.
They can’t shut down bitcoin in any event, but this focus on banks hopefully will bring a much needed wider debate on the criteria they use to decide who to fund with effectively printed from nothing money, both in big business but also in regards to small entrepreneurs and for home ownership.