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If we’re serious about preventing catastrophic warming, we can’t dig any new coal mines, drill any new fields, build any more pipelines. Not a single one. Yet right now, projected fossil fuel investment in new fields, mines, and transportation infrastructure over the next twenty years is worth $14 trillion. Barclays is a major investor in fossil fuel infrastructure across the globe it's time for them to halt their support for the fossil fuel industry before they crash the climate or the economy.
We're building a movement that will get our unis to break ties with Barclays, build a mass boycott, end sponsorship deals and show Barclays up for the climate criminal that they are. Join the global movement challenging these dirty investments and stand in solidarity with communities on the frontlines.
What We are calling for
We want Barclays to ditch all of their fossil fuel finance. This means the project finance they give to companies for specific projects like coal mines, oil pipelines or fracking sites. It also means the corporate finance, which is more general financing like providing an overdraft of companies dependent on fossil fuel extraction, such as Shell and BHP Billiton.
This aim is ambitious and we know we can win, just not overnight. Until we get there, we are demanding that Barclays stop financing new fossil fuel projects. This is because we know there can be no new fossil fuel infrastructure built if we are to reduce emissions globally. After this, we will force Barclays to divest from existing projects beginning with coal mines. These projects must be shut down to keep over 80% of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground and avert climate catastrophe.
Together we can put enough pressure on Barclays to force them to exclude fossil fuels from their financing portfolios. This could set into motion the necessarily radical transformation of the global finance sector which finally ostracise the fossil fuel industry from our politics and economies.
Standing with the frontlines
Students in the UK can’t win on our own and we're not trying to. We are standing with communities on the front-lines and are part of a global movement taking on the banking industry. There are already extremely developed campaigns across the globe calling banks to divest from fossil fuels from #DefundDAPL to #StopAdani. It’s time for us to add our voices and help amplify front-lines struggles.
North American Pipelines
Beneath the ground in Alberta, Canada sits an estimated 2 trillion barrels of oil. This is no conventional reserve – these are tar sands, the absolute definition of a carbon bomb. Limiting warming to 2°C depends on shutting down this entire operation. A coalition of 121 First Nations and Tribes of the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands launched Mazaska Talks (Money Talks) as a co-ordinated campaign to divest the banks propping up the pipelines necessary to transport the Tar Sands. Fossil fuel finance is coming under attack from every direction.
We need to target Barclays over their investments. In December 2016 they co-financed a $5bn revolving credit facility for Trans Canada, the company behind Keystone XL and Energy East. And as recently as May 2017, the joined a $5.5bn credit line for Kinder Morgan, almost all of which is dedicated specifically to the Trans Mountain pipeline, making this effectively a project related corporate loan.
Coal in Columbia
A third of the coal we burn in the UK, we import from Colombia, one of the places most notorious for human rights abuses in the name of coal extraction. Key players include Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Glencore, who jointly manage the 70,000 hectare Cerrejón mine in La Guajira. Barclays’ total backing of these companies and their abuses amounted to $3.5bn in 2013, with other UK banks not far behind.
The mine has grown steadily since 1976. In that time it has displaced and destroyed whole communities of indigenous and Afro-Colombian people, in particular the Wayúu. Workers at the mine fare no better. Their union, Sintracarbon, say 700 workers at Cerrejón suffer from serious health problems as a direct result of the poor working conditions at the mine. Industrial strike action has been met with dismissals and the murder of union leaders.
Coal & Gas in Austrailia
Australia has seen a boom in coal and Coal Seam Gas (CSG) extraction in recent years, with Barclays providing corporate loans to the tune of at least £632 million. Local campaigns have resisted projects around the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area because of their devastating impacts on environment as well as decades of increased carbon emissions.
Actions mobilised the support of millions of Australians to reject the construction of projects threatening ecologically important heritage sites and sacred land. They have also taken the fight to the AGMs of banks financing the projects, demanding that they stop financing the very worst. Now local groups are demanding that Australian banks ditch all investments expanding the fossil fuel industry and reduce exposure to the coal sector to zero by 2020. Barclays must do the same.
We want to show Barclays that we aren’t going away and take action against them every week. To do this we want to create a relentless campaign of disruption they will have no choice but to respond to. We are planning to coordinate at least one disruptive action against Barclays somewhere in the country every week till Barclays Divest from fossil fuels. This will continually pressure them into conceding specific demands to ditch new fossil fuel projects along the way to divesting from all fossil fuel finance.
Disruption to the Barclays brand can take many forms and we want groups to be as creative as possible in designing ways to leave a big impression. You could aim to stop a branch’s core money making operations for a day (or longer!), subvert their branding to a mass audience, lose them lots of business or disrupt core events for building their brand.
Sign up using this form to take action for the Rolling Disruption and we'll be in touch to tell you more and help you plan.
Victories so far
Barclays Ditch Fossil Fuels
Campaigns around the world that have already successfully pressured Barclays into ditching some of their reckless fossil fuel projects.
After years of pressure from organisations like BankTrack and the London Mining Network, as well as grassroots movements, Barclays has finally begun to offer some transparency over its coal policy and guidelines, as well as slow and quiet shift in the right direction.
In 2016, they published a new coal policy. The content of the policy acknowledged the significant role of extracting and burning coal in exacerbating climate change by committing to 'seek to reduce' their financing of the coal sector globally over ‘the medium term’. Any future decisions will be subjected to enhanced diligence and decisions from senior management. Barclays also stated that it has ‘no appetite’ for financing new coal fired power stations in developed economies.
Australian Coal Port
From 2014, a global campaign targeted all the major banks financing a proposed coal infrastructure at Abbott Point and in the Galilee Basin. These projects aim to create some of the biggest coal mines on the planet and build a new coal port which threatened the Great Barrier Reef with pollution and decay.
The campaign mobilised a powerful coalition of international NGOs, civil society groups and grassroots activists to toxify the reputation of the mines and build international consensus that it should not be developed. The pressure built up by the campaign successfully forced Barclays commit to ditching the financing of the Adani mine and its associated infrastructure. This was a huge victory and Barclays’ commitment was a big part of the domino effect leading to other major banks dropping the project.
Mountain Top Removal
In 2015, after campaigning by BankTrack, the Rainforest Action Network and Global Justice Now, Barclays quietly introduced policy to stop financing companies who engaged in the highly destructive method of mountain top removal of coal - having been the world’s biggest financier of it in 2013. Mountain top removal literally involves blasting off the tops of hills and mountains to access coal below.
In May 2017, at the Barclays Annual General Meeting (AGM), the Chairman John McFarlane told shareholders that the bank would be withdrawing their financing of fracking company Third Energy - licensed to frack in Ryedale, North Yorkshire. Barclays owned 97% controlling stakes in Third Energy. This is a huge victory for the anti-fracking and climate justice movement in the UK, showing the power of organising and building coalitions in our local communities. The decision was due to years of tireless campaigning led by residents in Ryedale, supported by activists from People & Planet, Friends of the Earth, 350.org and SumOfUs.
Already there has been one successful campaign for an institution to boycott Barclays because of their financing of fossil fuel projects.
- Sheffield SU - In February 2017, Sheffield SU voted to boycott Barclays because of their financing of fossil fuel projects globally as well as owning Third Energy - the company planning to frack in North Yorkshire - at the time.
- Young Labour - In October 2017, Young Labour (the youth wing of the UK Labour Party) passed a motion supporting divestment at their National Youth Policy Conference which included a committment to not bank with Barclays because of their fossil fuel finance.
- Trinity St David Students' Union - In October 2017, Trinity St David Students' Union held a democratic vote to boycott Barclays and campaign for their university to do the same after a motion was submitted by a People & Planet student.
- Bristol SU - In November 2017, Bristol Students' Union voted at a Student Council meeting to boycott Barclays and support the student campaign for the University to do the same.