As climate summit nears, campaign targets complicity of banks and Biden
More than 160 organizations launched a new campaign on Tuesday, ahead of a United Nations climate summit this fall, demanding that Wall Street and US President Joe Biden cut funding for businesses and projects that are fueling the climate emergency.
However, anyone who supports the campaign demands can sign a petition “calling on all financial institutions and the US government to end their support for companies engaged in climate destruction and human rights abuses by the start of the climate talks in Glasgow.”
The campaign includes a launch event at 8 p.m. ET on Aug. 3 with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.); 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben; and founder of the Giniw collective Tara Houskaone of the indigenous women leading the to fight against the Line 3 oil sands pipeline.
The two-week UN summit known as COP 26, due to start on October 31 in the Scottish city, will be “the most important climate talks since the Paris agreement”, the petition says. This agreement, which defines the global objectives to limit the rise in temperatures during this century, was adopted during COP 21 at the end of 2015.
For this year’s summit, hosted by the UK in partnership with Italy, parties to the Paris Agreement are being asked to present targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions for the next decade that will s align with the goal of reaching net zero by 2050.
Finances are also a top priority. The hosts’ COP 26 website said that “we must work to unlock the trillions in private finance that are needed to propel us to net zero by mid-century”.
This means that “every financial decision must take the climate into account,” the site adds, noting:
- This includes all private investment decisions, but also all spending decisions that countries and international financial institutions make as they roll out stimulus packages to rebuild economies post-pandemic.
- Businesses need to be transparent about the risks and opportunities that climate change and the move to a net zero economy pose to their business.
- Central banks and regulators must ensure that our financial systems can withstand the impacts of climate change and support the transition to net zero.
- Banks, insurers, investors and other financial firms must commit to ensuring that their investments and loans are aligned with net zero.
The new campaign’s petition points out that over the past year, “many financial institutions ― from banks to insurance companies, from asset managers to pension funds ― have created a new climate commitmentsas “net zero” emissions by 2050.”
“Yet at the same time they are providing loans, insurance and billions in investment capital to companies that are developing the fossil fuel industry and deforesting the Amazon and other rainforests ― companies guilty of human rights abuses and violations of indigenous sovereignty,” the activists continue.
They also point out that “major new fossil fuel projects, such as Line 3, the TransMountain Pipeline, the Formosa the plastic factory and the major deforestation projects could not start without the support of the financial sector and the American government. »
Therefore, the campaign not only targets US financial institutions, but also Biden.
The campaign kicked off as John Kerry, the first ever U.S. presidential climate envoy, noted in London on Tuesday that the world “must make COP 26 in Glasgow this year a pivotal moment for the world to come together to address and master the climate challenge”.
“After four years of absence, my friends, we approach this challenge with humility. But let’s be clear, we approach it with ambition,” said Kerry – who was secretary of state for the Paris negotiations – in an apparent reference to former President Donald Trump Strategies on the 2015 agreement and the climate.
“There is still time to put a safer 1.5°C future within reach,” he said. added. “But only if every major economy commits to meaningful absolute emissions reductions by 2030. This is the only way to put the world on a credible path to net global zero by mid-century.”
Biden, who income the United States to the Paris Agreement and hosted a climate summit in April for world leaders, said announcement plans to halve US emissions by at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030. Climate action advocates continue to push the president to go much further.
This post has been updated to include the date of the launch event.