Extinction Rebellion protesters urge North Devon banks to help the planet
Group says they are ‘not a bunch of violent extremists’ as they travel to North Devon for days of action
Extinction Rebellion activists in North Devon have turned to the banks, urging them to do more to help the planet.
Members of XR North Devon joined dozens of campaigns across the country for days of action with the group saying they wanted to draw attention to the ongoing investment in, production and use of fuels fossils responsible for huge amounts of greenhouse gas emissions and instead requiring investment in renewable energy sources and the protection of vital ecosystems.
XR members from North Devon joined the London action while at Barnstaple and Bideford other members kept awareness locally with actions outside Barclays and HSBC branches.
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Spokeswoman Rosie Haworth-Booth said: ‘It is amazing how few people seem to be aware that the money used both to run our public services and to fund our pensions and income comes from returns. on investment of support for fossil fuels, clearing of forests and violation of human rights and this year Barclays was named Europe’s largest fossil fuel financier, closely followed by HSBC .
“If only they knew, many people would probably invest in much more environmentally friendly banks. They exist and they help reduce emissions and preserve our endangered ecosystems. ”
XR Rebellion North Devon wrote to both banks saying, “Please don’t worry about us. Contrary to popular press representations, we are not a bunch of violent extremists.
“We are in fact ordinary citizens, engaged in peaceful and non-violent protests. Many of us are parents and grandparents, and we act out of fear and despair at the state of the world our children will inherit.
“We are deeply concerned that the billions of pounds that banks like yours are investing in fossil fuels, carbon projects and the destruction of nature are setting us on the path to a catastrophic rise in global temperatures. up to 4 ° C. This likely means massive famine, the displacement of millions of people, and the extinction of countless species.
“We would like to point out that this action is not aimed at you personally, but at your bank’s huge investments in projects to destroy fossil lives. It’s not your fault.
“We understand that you are just working here to make a living and secure your future. But really – what kind of future will that be?
“We are all now well aware that we are in the midst of a climate and ecological emergency. That is why we are calling on Barclays and HSBC to clean up and end all fossil fuel investment now.
“We act in peace, XRND.”
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A Barclays spokesperson said: “We are aligning our entire financing portfolio to support the goals of the Paris Agreement – significantly increasing green financing, investing directly in new green technologies and helping clients across sectors. keys to changing their business models to reduce their impact on climate change. .
“By 2025, we will reduce the emissions intensity of our energy portfolio by 30% and the absolute emissions of our energy portfolio by 15%.
“Growing at a steady pace, our capital markets activity has already facilitated £ 46bn of green financing.
“We are one of the only banks in the world to invest our own capital – £ 175 million – in innovative and green start-ups. By deploying finance in this way, we are accelerating the transition to a low carbon economy and will become a net zero bank by 2050. ”
HSBC was also invited to comment.