A campaign to ban investments in fossil fuels

16 August 2022
Article

If we really want governments to stop the billions flowing from banks and investors to new fossil fuels infrastructure, we need popular pressure. Building on and complementary to the ongoing work of climate- and social movements, we propose to bring them together in a broad coalition that sides with activist experts on finances to campaign together.

To fight climate change we need to regulate financial markets. Recent reports from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that any investment in new fossil fuels infrastructure will take global warming above the 1.5 degrees. In this scenario, the solution is very simple: we need to ban new investments in fossil fuels, while exposing the role the finance sector has claimed in Glasgow. However, there is very little movement to meet these challenges. So far, no effective measures have been taken either at the global or at the European levels. What is worse, among decision-makers there is still a strong belief that financial markets and corporations will guarantee our energy transition without any strong political intervention. This is precisely what Mark Carney aims to put forward, acting as both the Special UN envoy on Climate and Finance and the Chair of the Glasgow Financial Alliance of Net Zero (GFANZ), a coalition of big banks and other financial institutions.

Our idea

If we really want governments to stop the billions flowing from banks and investors to new fossil fuels infrastructure, we need popular pressure. Building on and complementary to the ongoing work of climate- and social movements, we propose to bring them together in a broad coalition that sides with activist experts on finances to campaign together. Our aim is to set a clear narrative on the need of regulation of finances that connects the climate and the social agendas. The current energy crisis highlights once more how a just transition is crucial for society from both a climate and social perspective.

Phase 1: stop the corporate capture of COP27

Our first target is COP27, 6-18th November, 2022, in Egypt.

At COP26, finance corporations managed to move into a key position and take over the global implementation of the Paris Agreement on financial markets. Through GFANZ, they get to decide how financial markets should develop. Unsurprisingly, their strategies to curb climate change allow massive investments in both existing fossil fuel production and new infrastructure for years to come.

It is thus crucial to make COP27 a moment to denounce the deceptive concepts and formulas developed by GFANZ, and to demand an end to the capture of decision-making bodies staged by financial corporations. This will involve writing a manifesto so we can build a coalition and a powerful voice, to prepare social media work, to do research and other actions depending on our resources.

Phase 2 in the campaign: winning in the European Union

We will focus on creating political change to ban new investments in fossil fuels in the European Union.

For now, we are working on several ideas, such as building a European Citizens Initiative, whereby one million signatures would compel the European Commission to consider a legislative proposal on the matter. Another plan is to ask candidates from the European elections in 2024 to pledge to work for the ban.

Join us!

On August 30th, 15h CEST, we will hold a zoom meeting to discuss the campaign with all organizations that are or wish to be part of the campaign. Let us know if you want to join, or if you can’t make it but would still like to be kept on the loop.

Early October, we will convene an in-person meeting so the COP27 strategy can be further developed.

So far, Fairfin (Belgium), the Transnational Institute (Amsterdam), and Corporate Europe Observatory (Brussels) are at the forefront of this campaign. In the past few months we have discussed our plans with several other groups across Europe, but we still need many more organizations involved—be it the different ATTAC-groups or any other people fighting for a just climate transition.

Should your organisation be interested, let us know:
marie.jans [at] fairfin [dot] be
kenneth.haar [at] corporateeurope [dot] org