Extinction Rebellion urges St Albans bank to 'clean up its act'

PUBLISHED: 14:56 13 November 2019 | UPDATED: 14:56 13 November 2019

Extinction Rebellion protested outside Barclays bank in St Albans. Picture: Nigel Harvey

Extinction Rebellion protested outside Barclays bank in St Albans. Picture: Nigel Harvey

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Members of Extinction Rebellion gathered outside Barclays bank in St Albans as part of a campaign to discourage financial institutions from funding the climate emergency.

Extinction Rebellion protested outside Barclays bank in St Albans. Picture: Nigel HarveyExtinction Rebellion protested outside Barclays bank in St Albans. Picture: Nigel Harvey

The group of 20 protestors dressed in pinafores and waved feather dusters outside the bank on Saturday, to suggest that the bank should 'clean up its act' when it comes to the climate crisis.

According to the group, 33 banks have lent 1.9 trillion dollars to the fossil fuel industry since 2016. When fossil fuels are used they produce carbon, which is leading to global heating, a rise in sea levels and the extinction of thousands of species.

Extinction Rebellion specifically pointed to Barclays' funding of Arctic oil exploration, and the extraction of fossil fuel from tar sands - which causes "huge" damage to the climate.

Harpenden resident Sarah Brenman, who attended the protest, said: "We have to stop banks financing the climate emergency - and Barclays are the worst in Europe."

Extinction Rebellion protested outside Barclays bank in St Albans. Picture: Nigel HarveyExtinction Rebellion protested outside Barclays bank in St Albans. Picture: Nigel Harvey

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Bethany Mogie, who lives in St Albans, added: "I'm protesting here because for Barclays to be funding Arctic oil exploration is unforgivable."

The protest in St Albans was one of more than 20 outside Barclays banks across the UK, which all took place at midday on Saturday.

Extinction Rebellion want to remind banks and their customers that the investments they make are "some of the most powerful forces in existence" for financing the continued use of fossil fuels, and urges them to invest in renewable energy such as wind and wave power instead.

Extinction Rebellion protested outside Barclays bank in St Albans. Picture: Nigel HarveyExtinction Rebellion protested outside Barclays bank in St Albans. Picture: Nigel Harvey

Dr Mangala Patilmead, from St Albans, said: "The time has come to change. As one of the biggest retail banks, Barclays has a lot of clout and should be making the right choices."

In an energy and climate change statement, published in January this year, Barclays cited the important role banks have to play in "helping to limit the threat that climate change poses to people and to the natural environment", while still supporting economic growth.

A spokesperson said: "We facilitated £27.3 billion in social and environmental financing last year, and we are determined to do all we can to support the transition to a low-carbon economy, while also ensuring that global energy needs continue to be met."

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