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Extinction Rebellion Forres and Highland protesting against banks "greenwashing" funding of fossil fuels

By Garry McCartney

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Extinction Rebellion making their point outside JP Morgan in Glasgow. Picture by Mark Richards @AuroraFindhorn
Extinction Rebellion making their point outside JP Morgan in Glasgow. Picture by Mark Richards @AuroraFindhorn

ENVIRONMENTAL activists from the area are attempting to block the entrance to a bank's main offices in the centre of Glasgow to protest fossil fuel financing.

The protest at JPMorgan’s main offices on Waterloo Street is on COP26’s Finance Day during XR's 'Greenwash' march, where, accompanied by samba band Mother Earth and a green washing machine, protesters are touring the city's offices of major COP26 sponsors and financial institutions, calling them out for advertising as "green" while continuing to fund the burning of fossil fuels.

XR Forres member Mick Drury is there.

He said: "Decisions made at COP26, will have huge consequences for the future wellbeing of communities around the world, particularly those already on the frontlines of the climate crisis.

"COP26 will decide who is sacrificed, who escapes, and who profits most.

"Institutions like JPMorgan have had five years since Paris to take action to reduce their fossil fuel financing, yet funding is greater than ever!"

Protestors looking for a reaction from the bank. Picture by Mark Richards @AuroraFindhorn
Protestors looking for a reaction from the bank. Picture by Mark Richards @AuroraFindhorn

An annual audit suggests that the world’s 60 biggest banks have financed fossil fuels to the tune of £2.8 trillion since the signing of the Paris Agreement, and private financing of fossil fuels was higher in 2020 than in 2016, the year it was signed.

JPMorgan Chase bankrolls 75 per cent of the 75 companies doing the most to expand oil and gas, according to XR Forres. The group also said that

accounting using 'intensity-reduction targets' rather than absolute emission reduction targets means the fossil fuel companies it bankrolls can actually increase emissions over the next decade.

Mick said: "We've lost five critical years when we should have been redirecting financing towards a just and clean energy transition.

"Time and time again, banks like JPMorgan have proved that they can’t be trusted to be part of the solution.

"On COP26’s Finance Day, governments must step in to regulate their fossil fuel funding activities and let these multinational corporations know we will no longer permit their slick green-washing of business as usual.

"We are almost out of time. Governments must act today and protect their peoples rather than the profits of private companies who cannot be trusted to act in the common interest."

A JP Morgan spokesman said that, this year, the bank launched a $2.5 trillion, 10-year financing target to support sustainable development - $1 trillion of that will be focused on green initiatives.

In 2020, JP Morgan announced a Paris-aligned financing commitment, focused on the oil and gas, electric power and automotive manufacturing sectors.

Earlier this year, the bank announced 2030 carbon reduction targets for these sectors to help clients get on a path towards net zero. JP Morgan is also analysing target setting for the Aviation and Pulp and Paper sectors by the end of 2022.

JP Morgan recently joined the Net Zero Banking Alliance and data from Bloomberg shows that JP Morgan is earning more in total fees from underwriting ESG debt - $223 million so far in 2021 - than it is from arranging bond sales for fossil-fuel companies - $94 million.

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