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Bank accused of funding climate change in King’s Lynn protest

todayApril 3, 2021 4

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A Lynn high street bank has been targeted by environmental activists in a new campaign which aims to cut investment in fossil fuel programmes.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) members staged a fake oil spill demonstration outside the town’s Barclays branch on Thursday.

They say they want to raise awareness of the company’s role in financing projects which serve to drive up global temperatures and encourage customers to move their money out in order to force change.

Extinction Rebellion activists outside Lynn's Barclays branch (45781762)
Extinction Rebellion activists outside Lynn’s Barclays branch (45781762)

The protest was part of a global programme of action intended to target financial institutions who campaigners accuse of funding climate change.

Barclays says it wants to be a net zero bank by 2050 and claims that emissions from its portfolio of power investments will be 30 per cent lower by 2025.

A recent statement on its website also claimed that, after announcing its net zero target in March last year, it facilitated more than £32 billion in green financing and invested £24 million of a planned £175 million in green innovation.

The fake oil demonstration which campaigners hope will bring about change (45781765)
The fake oil demonstration which campaigners hope will bring about change (45781765)

But XR says Barclays invests more in fossil fuels than any other bank in Europe and actually increased the amount they invest in coal, fracking and other such schemes by $200 million in the last year.

Members of the Lynn and West Norfolk XR group set up a model oil rig outside the branch for the protest and poured a fake oil over it.

The oil was cleaned afterwards and the group says an environmental officer who was present confirmed their substance would not cause environmental harm.

Activist Robert Shippey said: “Companies like Barclays are keeping us on a path towards global climate breakdown.

“The crisis we face isn’t hypothetical for people my age. I will live through what is coming unless big business and governments act now to protect all of us.”

The group is also promoting the Switch It website to show major high street banks’ record on climate change and encourage customers to use more sustainable alternatives.

XR has previously targeted the Lynn Barclays branch, during what it billed as a “Fossil Bank” protest in the summer of 2019.

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