FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 17, 2021
Contact: Jackie Fielder, [email protected]
More than 40 climate activists arrested at bank headquarters in NYC, more risk arrest in Seattle ahead of COP26 and New York Climate Week
SEATTLE, WA―On the 10th anniversary of Occupy Wall Street and ahead of New York Climate week, 40 climate activists were arrested at bank headquarters and buildings of JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, and Bank of America to call on major Wall Street banks to stop financing fossil fuels by the start of the Glasgow Climate Talks on November 1st. Dozens more risk arrest at Chase and Bank of America bank branches as well as the Canadian Consulate in Seattle. Activists in Seattle are specifically calling out Chase and Bank of America for spending tens of billions bankrolling tar sands oil expansion and the Canadian government for supporting the Trans Mountain and Line 3 pipelines. They’re joined by more than 150 people across the U.S. delivering 150,000 petition signatures as part of the Stop the Money Pipeline coalition’s Deadline Glasgow: Defund Climate Chaos campaign.
The Glasgow Climate Talks are the most important international climate talks since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015. It is also supposed to be “the climate finance COP.” Scientists say that almost 60% of oil and gas reserves and 90% of coal must remain in the ground to keep global warming below 1.5C. This follows a groundbreaking report from the International Energy Association earlier this year that stated, “there is no need for investment in new fossil fuel supply in our net zero pathway.” Yet, not a single Wall Street bank has committed to winding down their investments in oil and gas and all still have some exposure to coal. In fact, the largest fossil fuel financier, JP Morgan Chase, has publicly committed to funding oil and gas for years to come.
Thanks to a combination of strategic inside and outside pressure from organizers and activists over several years, a number of private institutions are scaling down their exposure to fossil fuels:
- Harvard recently committed to divesting its funds from fossil fuels, including oil and gas, following Macalester Board of Trustees decision to divest from all publicly traded oil and gas assets after 8 years of student-led campaigning and a most recent push to divest from Enbridge, the company constructing the Line 3 pipeline
- After years of campaigning and a giant inflatable CEO debuted at the US Open, Chubb has publicly confirmed they are not insuring tar sands; this follows 15 other insurance companies who have dropped financing for the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline
- Advocates are cautiously optimistic after Liberty Mutual recently joined the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials
- In August, NYS pension fund announced it has divested from more coal and put some shale and gas on the review
Meanwhile, bankers are stubbornly eager to fund oil and gas. That’s why grassroots activists are turning up the pressure and advocates and electeds have pivoted to pressuring Biden to appoint a climate leader to head the Federal Reserve, and introducing a bill to require the Fed to ban fossil fuel financing. The surge in attention to climate finance comes as the Biden administration is set to issue a climate-related financial risk strategy around the COP26 talks.
The Stop the Money Pipeline coalition is a coalition of more than 175 organizations and growing, working to hold the financial backers of climate chaos accountable.