In recent weeks, we have heard alarming stories of flooding in Bangladesh, which has submerged one-third of the country due to extreme weather events (predicted to happen more often due to climate change). Recently I met the archbishop of Polynesia, Winston Halapua, at the Greenbelt festival. He was there to talk about the effects of climate change. His home Island of Tuvalu is one-third under water because of sea level rises and that level will not be receding.
The Big Shift is Christian Aid’s campaign to get our banks to help tackle climate change.
Text from Christian Aid website September 2017:
In the Paris Agreement of 2015, world leaders pledged to stop global temperatures rising above two degrees. There is general agreement that must move towards a zero carbon economy. There is also a strong financial case for shifting away from fossil fuels – in 2016 The World Economic Forum identified the failure to tackle climate change as the biggest risk we face. Investing in renewables helps fight climate change. UK banks manage trillions of pounds of our money. It’s up to us to be interested in how they use it.
Christian Aid research shows that the banks managing our money are still much more heavily invested in fossil fuel companies than in renewable energy companies. Our economy has been based on fossil fuels for over 100 years, so we understand that it’s not as easy as simply changing all of their loans and investments overnight.
But what is worrying is the lack of a clear plan or commitment from the banks as to how to change this current balance and scale up investments in renewables. To love our neighbours and God’s abundant planet as we’re entrusted to do requires a big shift in finances towards renewable energy.
What’s the solution?
- Banks must stop financing coal power plants. The UK Government has already promised to phase out coal by 2025 – banks must follow suit.
- All banks must publish a transition plan for their organisation in order to meet the commitments of the Paris Agreement.
- Banks must publish the carbon emissions resulting from their investments and loans.
Two months of action are ahead of us as people all over the country participate in The Big Shift campaign. Look out for opportunities to put ‘renewable pound notes’ on the Prudence Piggy Bank poster as a symbol of our collective call on our banks to invest wisely. These and letters will be handed in to high street bank managers of HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds and NatWest. Christian Aid is hoping for a ‘hand-in’ each day through October and November. Our local bank ‘hand in’ will be on Wednesday 11 October at 1.30 pm.
Please get in touch if you’d like to join with others from across the city to do this. email@example.com.
Jo Crocker, Mission Co-ordinator