Monday 2 March 2020 2:11 pm

Greenpeace targets Barclays branches over fossil fuel financing

Greenpeace activists have targeted almost 100 Barclays bank branches this morning in protest over the bank’s financing of fossil fuel companies. 

Some 29 branches in London are affected, according to Greenpeace, with activists disabling many of the branches’ lock mechanisms so they are unable to open as usual. 

Campaigners are demanding the banking giant — the largest fossil fuel financer in Europe — stops “propping up” oil, gas and coal firms, and instead channels funding into renewable energy.

Pop-up exhibitions displaying photographs of recent climate disasters are also blocking access to some Barclays branches, including Piccadilly Circus. Branches targeted in the City include Fenchurch Street, Atlas House, Wormwood Street and Moorgate. 

City A.M. understands that various methods were used to damage the banks’ locks, including gluing them shut and forcing nails inside the locks.

“Banks are just as responsible for the climate emergency as the fossil fuel companies they fund, yet they’ve escaped scrutiny for years,” said Greenpeace climate finance campaigner Morten Thaysen.

“From floods to bushfires and record heat in Antarctica, the impacts of this crisis are staring us in the face. Yet Barclays keeps pumping billions into fossil fuel companies at exactly the time we need to stop backing these polluting businesses,” he said. 

Barclays has come under sustained pressure over its record on climate from investors and campaigners in recent months. 

In January, a group of shareholders took formal action against the bank to demand it stops financing fossil fuel firms not aligned with the Paris Agreement’s climate goals, and it emerged last month that Barclays was coming under pressure from a second influential investor group over the issue.

“We recognise that climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the world today, and 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,” said a Barclays spokesperson.

“Greenpeace has a view on these issues to which they are completely entitled, but we would ask that – in expressing that view – they stop short of behaviour which targets our customers, and our colleagues, going about their lives in communities around the country.”