Hackney elders protest outside Barclays Bank

Hackney elders and grandparents of Extinction Rebellion called out big banks for investing in fossil fuels this week. 

Hackney elders and grandparents of Extinction Rebellion called out big banks for investing in fossil fuels this week. - Credit: Hackney XR Elders and Grandparents

The Elders and Grandparents wing of Hackney Extinction Rebellion (XR) handed out leaflets, banners and sang songs in protest outside Barclays in Dalston Junction. 

The group took action on Monday (August 31) with the bank found to be the biggest fossil fuel investor in Europe, according to a recent report. 

According to a 2019 report by BankTrack and other environmental organisations, 33 global banks have provided more than one trillion pounds to fossil fuel companies since the adoption of the Paris climate accord in 2015. American banks topped the list.

The group held a "listening table" to speak to people about their climate concerns and called on banks to divest from fossil fuels. 

Hackney XR Elders and Grandparents.

The group called out banks like Barclays for investing in fossil fuels. - Credit: Hackney XR Elders and Grandparents

XR Elder Gillian Harris said: "While governments, particularly in the UK, talk about addressing investment in fossil fuels they are still opening coal fields and supporting oil and gas production that will add to global warming.

She continued: "Banks and particularly Barclays Bank are the worst investors in fossil fuel."

Hackney XR Grandparents and Elders.

The group hopes protests like their will pressure governments to act ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November. - Credit: Hackney XR Elders and Grandparents

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In response to the protest a Barclays spokesperson said the bank is aligning its financing portfolio to support the goals of the Paris Agreement by scaling up green financing, directly investing in green technologies and, by helping clients change their business models to reduce their climate change impact.

They added: "By 2025, we will reduce the emissions intensity of our power portfolio by 30 per cent, and reduce absolute emissions of our energy portfolio by 15pc.

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"Increasing at pace, our capital markets business has already facilitated £46 billion of green finance.

"We are one of the only banks globally investing our own capital – £175m – into innovative, green start-ups. By deploying finance in this way, we are accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy and will become a net zero bank by 2050.”

The protest is one of many XR actions which are taking place across the country in the lead up to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) to be held in Glasgow in November. 

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