With COP26 scheduled to begin in Glasgow between October 31 and November 12, over 50 coordinated finance actions have been planned during which demonstrators shall engage in street marches, hold banners, organize projections, street murals, vigils and other kinds of creative demonstrations to demand that financial institutions end all funding for fossil fuels. Instead, financial institutions should direct resources to support the most vulnerable nations tackling the climate crisis, and deliver a rapid, just transition to a fossil free world. To thrive amid the climate crisis, the imperative is not just about stemming the flow of fossil fuel finance, but it should shifting financial flows towards the kind of development that is just prosperous and equitable and safe.
In Africa specifically, there are a series of 11 planned actions, mostly targeting financial institutions and governments. The actions demand that financial institutions develop a fossil fuel exclusion policy that commits to not investing even a single penny into the fossil fuel industry. The fossil fuel industry is planning to invest over $200 billion in the development of new oil and gas in Africa only within the next decade and this will result in about 62 billion tons of carbon emissions across the globe. The ambition remains that the $200 billion to be committed to developing non-renewable energy sources will still be channeled, to clean, renewable energy that is essentially the most needed.
Insights provided by panellists during COP26 Wave of Actions Press Conference
In anticipation of the COP26 Summit, 350.org and its allies hosted an online press conference on Thursday, October 28. The panel included renowned climate campaigners and organizers from around the world who shared details of the actions, presented their demands to the financial targets, and responded to questions.
Below is a concise summary of the insightful responses provided by the panelists during the Q&A session:
- What is the role of banks in the climate crisis?We are targeting financial institutions because they are the institutions that provide the capital and stipulate the terms of engagement on how the economy works. Currently the global economy is mainly driven by extractives and the fossil fuel industries and we believe that if we shift financial flows away from companies that profit off pollution and the accumulation of greenhouse gases, we would have the resources to actually build the kind of world that is safe from pollution and adverse climate change. The most important factor is that all humans collectively thrive.
- What are your demands from the banks?We demand that the banks put real action around not just economic analysis and scenario planning, but that they have actionable steps that are stopping the fossil fuel flows, like the financial flows to fossil fuel companies, and making them account for climate risk and disclosure.
- As young activists, what changes do you want to see in the global economic model?We want the funding to go in a just and fair system where nobody is left behind and the system which will lead the most affected people and areas to have their common rights and their basic human rights respected. Furthermore, we would like to see development of a new international economic system that gives the Global South the place that it deserves, and recognizes the region as environmental creditors to the Global North, considering the majority of adverse climate change projects originate from the Global North.
- What do you expect from the banks in the climate talks at Glasgow? We want a roadmap that aligns and ensures the goal of reducing carbon emissions will mean prioritizing the development of a fossil fuel exclusion policy, guaranteeing that financiers will not offer any funding to owners of oil projects or related infrastructure. The policy for excluding funding to existing fossil fuel projects should account for equality and justice for those primarily affected, and should be achieved within the timelines needed to meet the Paris Agreement alignment.
The COP26 Summit offers an intriguing opportunity to discern the ambitions of fossil fuel dependent nations and their level of commitment towards achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement. The willingness and ability to transition towards sustainable and renewable energy sources, especially from the Global North, shall determine the climatic future of our planet.