The Global Climate Strike this Friday is shaping up to be the biggest climate mobilisation of all time. A stunning display of just how far our movement has come But looking around at the state of our politics and our planet is a sobering reminder of just how much work we have to go.
The biggest climate mobilisation in history simply won’t be enough if it stops this week and people just go home. And and won’t count for much if we can’t direct this energy towards the companies who are are not only causing climate change, but profiting from it.
I’m talking, of course, about the fossil fuel industry. The misinformation and lobbying machine they built to stop the world from acting on climate change is probably the single biggest reason we’re still in this mess and we must continue to stop their projects and counter their political influence at every turn.
But there’s another bunch of people and businesses who should be firmly in our sights as we continue our struggle after the climate strikes – the finance industry.
Today Bill McKibben published a new article in the New Yorker that lays out with devastating forensic detail how the finance industry is fuelling the fire of global warming: our banks, asset-managers, and insurers, are all essential players in the modern expansion (yes it’s 2019 and it’s expanding) of fossil fuels.
But these financial players also have options and incentives to act swiftly and to accelerate the shift away from coal, oil, and gas.
Plus institutions of the finance industry are everywhere – giving you a handy target wherever you live – to join in and pressure.
You might want to join the campaign against JP Morgan Chase the world’s biggest owner of fossil fuel interest? Or perhaps you’re ready to take on one of the Japanese mega-banks? How about HSBC’s loophole that lets it keep pushing coal in Bangladesh?
How about getting the world’s biggest lender over the line on the strictest climate-safety policy in the world? That fight needs you right now as the decision might be made next month – get involved.
As more banks declare they won’t fund fossil fuel projects, we’ll see a domino effect and every project will be harder to fund.
As more investors – both public and private institutions – demand fossil free indexes, the capital needed to fund these monstrous mega-projects will be impossible to raise.
And that’s not to even mention how hard it will get for the world’s biggest polluters when no-one will insurer their mines, pipelines, and power-stations anymore.
Our activism against these bad actors in the finance sector will build our power, make real change and be fun. You have a chance to use your power. But this should also be accompanied by a bigger critique of the system that says it’s okay to put profit first.
We have a chance to imagine a new financial system, even as we go about making the one we have play a pivotal role in ending the era of fossil fuels.