Mythbusting fossil finance

We’ve heard every sorry excuse in the book from the big banks as to why they’re still financing coal, oil and gas. Here are some of the main arguments banks used and the arguments for why they don’t stack up.


Banks should be focused on their own responsibility to reduce their financed emissions, not that of their competitors.

You will be held accountable for your actions and held to the warm words you publish about your commitment to tackling climate change.

At this point, a lot of financial institutions have, to some extent, committed to stopping financing coal. For banks to be the lenders of last resort for bad assets just amplifies the risk.


Supporting companies that are developing new fossil fuel projects that science has proven to be inconsistent with global climate targets is clearly not supporting a transition.

An important point of influence is at the time of transaction when banks can say yes or no to a deal; they can have more influence than shareholders do.

You’ve had plenty of time to engage. If you continue “engaging” after so many years without results, you’re just using engagement as an excuse.


Renewable technologies can better serve the energy needs of low-income regions and are becoming more competitive than coal in many regions of the world. See here

Coal power is not a prerequisite for economic development and has received too much credit historically for poverty reduction. See here.

The expansion of coal infrastructure anywhere in the world is incompatible with the Paris goals and a failure to meet the goals will disproportionately affect low-income countries.


This argument is out-dated. Even banks themselves are starting to address their emissions associated with clients, through targets to reduce these over time.

Mainstream investors are also calling for banks to take responsibility and reduce their financed emissions.


​​The US already imports around 9 million barrels a day. The only way to increase energy security is to get off oil, not to produce more.

No one is proposing “eliminating” supply overnight. It’s already going to take two to three decades to transition off the fossil fuels already in production. We have to start now by stopping expansion.

Solar energy will provide cheap, reliable energy to the poorest around the world, without the boom and bust nature of fossil fuels that have plagued the last century.



Hype Call: October 5

RSVP here


Call 1: 

6 am London/ 3 pm Sydney/ 1 pm Manila 



Joseph Sikulu, Pacific Managing Director, (HOST) 

Fahimah Badrulhisham, Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) 

Jon Bonifacio, Fridays for Future, Philippines


Call 2: 

7 pm UK/ 8 pm Germany/ 11 am PT/ 2 pm ET 



Thomas Lopez, Future Coalition, US (HOST) 

Tonny Nowshin. Digital and Finance Campaign Lead, Germany

Aishwarya Puttur, Fridays for Future, Canada 

Rachel Oliver, Head of Campaigns, Positive Money, UK



The purpose of the call is to connect as a global movement ahead of the Oct 29th #DefundClimateChaos day of action. We’ll join the dots between what’s happening in different countries, hear a bit about the plans taking place around the world and get excited together as the plans start to shape up more.

We’ll also use the space to update on a few of the practical pieces:

  • Media & PR, and how to upload photos and videos
  • Training schedule
  • Communication channels
  • Social Media share pack 
  • How to get involved and how to access support

Street mural training

Register here to participate in the online workshop

Incase you missed the first session you can catch up here, passcode is MBj.x^9L


As part of the #DefundClimateChaos day of action on Oct 29th groups are inviting you to learn the skills needed to plan and implement giant street murals, to help bring a clear, unified demand to financial institutions across the globe: your continued investments in fossil fuels, ecological destruction and human rights violations must stop immediately.

Using a climate memorial framework, they’ll create giant street art to bring the reality of dangerous fossil fuel investments to the doorsteps of the institutions enabling the industry to continue its reckless expansion. Lifting up stories of frontline communities to remember and commemorate those impacted by extreme weather events and the violence of fossil fuel extraction they will demonstrate a movement on the rise to resist the fossil fuel colonialism driving climate breakdown.


MEMORIAL, REMEMBER, and MEMORY, all come from the Latin “memoria,” which means,

  • memory; the ability to remember
  • a remembrance, a thing remembered

They will remember those hurt by climate chaos; those who have died from storms, fires, floods, droughts, and displacement. 

As part of the Oct 29 Day of Action they encourage groups to remember and commemorate actual people who have died as a result of climate chaos. Is there someone you or people in your groups are connected to? Or perhaps you can find the names and a little about the person?

And they encourage commemorating people from the Global South, often more heavily impacted. You could read their names aloud, and maybe a little about what you know about them. You could create a visual representation–painting or writing their name, maybe a photo, date of birth and death; name, city or town, family, when and how they died.


This is a global movement that is rising up to protect our communities and planet–to prevent more avoidable death, suffering and destruction of our planet. When we stop the flow of money, then we stop the flow of oil and gas.


The training will be led by David Solnit.

Groups involved in organising ‘flagship’ actions on Oct 29th will receive the focus of support and guidance in between the training sessions, but any group interested in the tactic and using it in their context or community are welcome to join as well.


Session 1: October 7, 7pm

Hands on practice

Session 2:October 18, tbc time


To compliment your involvement we’ll also provide participants with a short Street Mural Guide to share some of the info in the training and photos of past murals. This will be sent to each participant as a link to a doc in advance of the first workshop so groups can start to make plans, build their teams and think about key questions well in advance.

Between the sessions and in the run up to the day of action itself there will be support and guidance needed to make your mural a great success.

Register here to participate in the online workshop


Banks continue to fan the flames of the climate emergency – movements are mobilising to stop them.

It has been a devastating year so far of wildfires, floods, and storms across the globe, not to mention the first ever recorded rainfall in the Arctic. July was the hottest month in human history.

As climate violence bears on communities, breaking meteorological records and overwhelming social systems, even atmospheric scientists have expressed their shock at the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events. What can be done to put the brakes on a climate at breaking point?

Thankfully, many are adopting bold responses, directing attention to the financial sector’s part in financing fossil fuel industries. In Europe, as we emerge from lockdowns and restrictions on mass gathering, organisers have pulled off some seriously impressive events, directly challenging banks for their complicity in fuelling the climate crisis. And things will get bigger and bolder in the lead up to COP.


In Switzerland

At the end of July, activists gathered in their thousands to confront the role of the Swiss financial sector in inflaming wildfires and supercharging storms. Switzerland may well be a small country, but the Swiss financial center is the source of twenty times its domestic emissions and plays a significant role exacerbating the crisis.

On August 2nd organisers targeted two of Switzerland’s biggest commercial banks, Credit Suisse and UBS for their support of projects like the Line 3 Tar sands pipeline and fracking projects in Argentina. They occupied the square at the heart of the financial sector in Zurich, blockading the bank’s headquarters to demand that they stop funding fossil fuels and human rights violations.

The banks were forced to close their doors until police removed the activists and their blockade. The actions were a great success with the Swiss media covering Swiss finances’ role in the climate crisis for the whole week.


In Germany 

Less than two weeks later, the climate movement in Germany responded to a call out from the local Fridays for Future group in Frankfurt to ‘Strike with Us’ and ‘Block the Banks’. Over 70 groups and organisations responded to the call with 15,000 people turning out to demand that financial giants like Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank and the European Central Bank stop the money flow to climate-wrecking industries.

Since the Paris climate agreement was signed in 2015, banks have poured trillions of dollars into new fossil fuel projects. Despite all of their flashy PR claiming support for ‘net-zero’, these banks are still ploughing billions into new fossil fuel projects.

A recent report by Oil Change International – Unused Tools: How Central Banks Are Fueling the Climate Crisis – shows how despite the net zero commitments and bold talk by central bankers, these critical institutions are woefully behind in taking any practical action to confront the ecological crisis.

As the demand for central banks to stop supporting the fossil fuel industry, so do calls for them to use their unique money creation powers to play a proactive role in retiring them. Two solutions proposed by economists and campaigners being the creation of a bad / fossil bank or by buying majority shares in them to manage their retirement.


In the UK

Last week XR Money Rebellion targeted the heart of financial capitalism – the City of London. Home to some of the biggest banks in the world, such as Barclays and HSBC, a huge amount of the capital needed to build out new fossil fuels projects originates from decisions made by bankers here.

After rallying outside the Bank of England, protesters went to Standard Chartered bank, to highlight the $31.4bn that it has invested in fossil fuels since the Paris climate agreement; to Guildhall, from where the financial district is governed, ending at Paternoster Square, where the London Stock Exchange is located.

As the clarity of the climate emergency is growing, so is public understanding of the main culprits and drivers of the emergency. Financial institutions are fanning the flames of our planetary crisis – it’s time to turn back the heat on them. Watch this space for an exciting  announcement for what’s next!


Written by Tim Ratcliffe