In downtown Belfast, two activists in high visibility jackets sprayed red colored liquid on the Castle Place branch, put stickers/posters on the window and then unfurled banners that read ‘stop funding death and “this is an intervention”.
Similar acts took place at Glasgow and Aberdeen branches.
In a Twitter post a fortnight ago explaining its reasons for targeting Barclays, Extinction Rebellion NI (@xr__ni) said the bank was “the world’s seventh largest fossil fuel funder and the largest ‘Europe”.
He also said that Barclays had “given $166.741 billion to companies across the fossil fuel cycle from 2016 to 2021”, and that it had given more than $2 billion to the top 30 companies with interests in the fossil fuel. arctic oil and gas.
The group referred to a report called Banking on Climate Chaos, produced in 2022 as a sort of audit of banks’ investments in fossil fuels.
The report bears the logo of half a dozen organizations, including the US environmental group Sierra Club, and concludes:
“Fossil fuel funding plateaued last year amid a lagging recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic – but at levels even higher than in 2016, the first year after the adoption of the Paris Agreement.
“These findings underscore the need for banks to immediately implement policies that end their funding of fossil fuel expansion and begin to phase out their support altogether.”
Police arrived at the Belfast branch after around 20 minutes and later said a 33-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman had been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and disorderly behaviour.
In response to the coordinated actions across the UK, a Barclays spokesperson said: “Barclays was one of the first banks to set an ambition to become net zero by 2050.
“We have set targets for 2030 to reduce our financed emissions in four of the most emitting sectors in our financing portfolio, with additional targets for 2025 for the two most emitting sectors: energy and electricity.
“We have also facilitated over £80bn of green funding since 2018 and are investing our own capital – £175m – in sustainability-focused start-ups.
“While Extinction Rebellion is entitled to its views on these matters, we ask that by expressing this view they prevent criminal damage to our facilities that puts the safety of people at risk.”
Extinction Rebellion UK issued a statement later today saying: ‘Thousands of you have taken part in over 100 actions across the UK, ranging from talking to people to switch banks, to supergluing each other in windows, breaking glass, falling banners and performing songs.
“So many ways to stop banks from financing fossil fuels. Join us today.”
The Royal Society – the oldest scientific academy in the world, dating back to the mid-1600s and counting Isaac Newton, Ernest Rutherford and Lord Kelvin as past presidents – currently describes the situation regarding global warming as follows:
“Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have increased dramatically since the start of the industrial revolution.
“Since pre-industrial times, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 has increased by more than 40%, methane has increased by more than 150% and nitrous oxide has increased by about 20%.
“More than half of the increase in CO2 has occurred since 1970.
“Increases in all three gases contribute to Earth’s warming, with increased CO2 playing the most important role.”