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Forres pensioner closes Barclays Bank account after 75 years in protest at fossil fuel investment

By Alistair Whitfield

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A MORAY pensioner has closed her Barclays account after 75 years as a customer in protest at the bank's investment in fossil fuels.

Eileen Richards, who's aged 91 and lives near Forres, has been with Barclays since she was just 16 – but no longer.

In a letter to the bank's CEO, she wrote: "It is with regret, given your staff’s great service, that I am writing to inform you that I have decided to close my current account with Barclays, after finding it listed in the Rainforest Action Network's 2020 report 'Banking on Climate Change’.

"The report lists 35 global private sector banks who funnelled almost £2 trillion into the fossil fuel industry between 2016 and 2019.

"Equally jaw-dropping, despite the signing of the Paris Agreement in late 2015, their fossil financing continues to increase year on year.

"As I'm sure you are aware, given your need to assess risk, global warming is expected to reach >4°C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century, if we do not urgently change the trajectory we are on and cease our dependency on oil, coal and gas."

According to the report ( here ), Barclays financed fossil fuel companies with almost £91billion between 2016-2019, leaving it with 36 per cent more investments in the sector than any other European bank.

In her letter, Eileen added: "You will no doubt tell me that you are concerned about climate change and the various actions you have taken in response.

"However, I am afraid that smacks of green-washing when you continue to invest heavily in a dirty, polluting industry which is so very responsible for causing and worsening the climate and ecological emergency.

"I cannot in good conscience continue to bank with you any longer as a result.

"I will henceforth be switching to an ethical bank that refuses to finance any kind of fossil fuel project directly or indirectly, using the switching site switchit.money.

"I have also set myself the target of telling 99 other people, via social media and personal networks, about your fossil fuel investing and will be asking them to follow suit in switching.

"Thank you to your staff for all their hard work and the efficient and friendly service they provide.

"I hope that you will see fit to commit to investing in and financing only renewable sources of energy soon."

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