Today, a group of organisations –, Platform London, People & Planet and The Sunrise Project – launched “Funding Climate Chaos“, a new report highlighting the role of UK banks in funding the climate crisis, focusing on Barclays and HSBC and referencing data from the Banking on Climate Change report.


Download the report here.


Executive summary


The financial impact of the Covid-19 crisis, on top of a crash in oil prices, has shown us ever more clearly that economies based on fossil fuels are vulnerable in an emergency. We have to respond to the immediate health and economic crisis we face, but we must also take this moment to make sure that we build the resilience we need to handle other crises in the future.


Despite this urgent need to move away from fragile, fossil fuel-based economies, drilling for oil in the arctic and in deep water, extracting oil from tar sands, and fracking shale rock for gas continues to cause damage to lives, livelihoods and habitats. These expensive extraction projects can’t go ahead without outside investment and thirty-five global banks have proven to be willing partners, having together invested £2 trillion* in the fossil fuel industry’s continued growth since 2016. Without these funds, the climate destroying activities of corporations like BP and Shell are not possible.


UK banks Barclays and HSBC are the worst offenders in Europe.


The plans laid out by governments and companies would lead to a 4°C increase in global temperatures, leading to droughts, flooding, food and water shortages and mass migration. Companies won’t stop digging and burning fossil fuels on their own, so in order to protect a habitable planet and organised society we must cut off the finance they need to grow these projects.


Our first priority must be to make sure that banks do not use the Covid-19 emergency to roll back existing or planned climate regulations. Any public money allocated to companies, including banks, must come with a condition that their plans will reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.


Covid-19 isn’t a ‘one-off’ event from which we will just return to the same ways of working. We must recognise and fix our broken systems, which have shown how vulnerable we are to emergencies. It is time for bold, transformational change that centres ordinary people and the planet.