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Chase, Liberty Mutual, and BlackRock Among the Top Targets for Climate Campaigners
Washington, D.C. — Stop the Money Pipeline, a coalition of dozens of groups dedicated to ending the financing of climate destruction, is announcing a major Day of Action for this April 23, 2020, as part of three days of youth-led Climate Strikes around the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day.
Stop the Money Pipeline organizers are expecting hundreds of events to take place on April 23rd targeting the financial institutions who are doing the most to wreck the climate. There will be sit-ins, teach-ins, and petition deliveries at bank branches; protests outside of company headquarters; actions on university campuses; and more.
At the top of its target list is JP Morgan Chase, the largest bank financier of fossil fuels. In the three years following the Paris Climate Agreement, Chase poured over $196 billion into new fossil fuel projects, according to the Banking on Climate Change fossil fuel finance report card released by the Rainforest Action Network. Chase has come under increasing pressure from activists over the past few months, with demonstrators interrupting a recent speech by CEO Jamie Dimon in Florida this February, and nearly weekly demonstrations at bank branches across the country. The Stop the Money Pipeline campaign began with a sit-in at a Chase Bank branch in Washington, D.C. that garnered national media attention.
Other targets for the April 23rd day of action include: Liberty Mutual, a leading insurer of fossil fuel projects; BlackRock, the largest asset manager in the world, who despite its recent announcements, continues to pump billions of dollars into fossil fuels and deforestation; and universities and pension funds who have failed to divest from fossil fuels. At many universities, students have given their administrations until Earth Day to divest or face protests on campus. Last week, there were divestment rallies on over 50 campuses across the country for Fossil Fuel Divestment Day.
The April 23rd Stop the Money Pipeline day of action is being organized as the second of three days of Climate Strikes that young people are planning around the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. The three days will demonstrate the growing power of the climate movement and go after the two drivers of the climate emergency: money and politics.
On Day 1 of the strikes, Earth Day, the mobilization will begin with actions designed to show the breadth and depth of the climate movement, centering the leadership of Indigenous people, frontline communities, and people of color. Day 2, Thursday, April 23, will be Stop the Money Pipeline Day, focused on ending the financing of climate destruction. Day 3, Friday, April 24, will target elected officials and include a massive voter registration push.
The April actions will be accompanied by a major online push to get individuals and institutions to ditch their banks, insurance companies, and asset managers that are fueling the climate crisis and switch to sustainable alternatives. A video of Jane Fonda cutting up a Chase credit card has already been viewed nearly a million times and inspired hundreds of comments from people saying that they’re prepared to do the same if Chase doesn’t stop funding fossil fuels.
The Stop the Money Pipeline Day of Action will take place just weeks before shareholder season, when JP Morgan Chase and others are expected to come under pressure from shareholders to do more to address the climate emergency. Last week, Majority Action, a member of the Stop the Money Pipeline coalition, launched a campaign to oust former Exxon CEO Lee Raymond from his position as chair of the board of JP Morgan Chase. Meanwhile, at Barclays a group of influential shareholders is pressuring the bank to cut its ties with fossil fuel firms. And all eyes will be on BlackRock and State Street, as this shareholder season is the first test of recent announcements from both asset managers that they will starting using their voting power to push companies on climate change and vote out corporate leadership that doesn’t act on climate.
According to the organizers at Stop the Money Pipeline, this is just the beginning. Now that the climate movement is following the money, it won’t let up until not a penny more is invested in climate destruction.
“The times we’re in call for historic redirection of capital away from fossil fuels, and towards the economy of the future. As we launch this campaign, the world is literally on fire. The institutions of Wall Street, still far behind their global peers, need to get in step with swift climate action. The inescapable reality of climate change demands bold action now,” said Ruth Breech, Climate and Energy Senior Campaigner at Rainforest Action Network.
“With Australia burning and Jakarta underwater, the science is clear that every new investment in fossil fuels is committing the world to climate chaos and human rights violations on a massive scale.Fossil fuel producers are already being held accountable in courtrooms around the world. The financial sector should take note, take action or take cover,” said Carroll Muffett, President at the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL).
“Banks around the globe are betting against our future with every dollar they invest in fossil fuels. We know we need to stop the expansion of the fossil fuel industry if we want to have any chance of combating the climate crisis, but we can’t begin to make serious headway until financial institutions like banks, asset managers, and pension funds stop funding this destructive oil and gas industry. Money is the oxygen on which the climate crisis burns — and we need everyone to care where their money is being spent,” said Janet Redman, Climate Campaign Director at Greenpeace USA.
“Fossil fuel capitalists, and their political enablers, have put us on a first-name basis with climate chaos. As we enter the decade of climate, it’s time to make them pay. Our communities can no longer foot the bill. Now is the time to demand redress of harms, and transformative action to pay for care and repair,” said Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, 350.org North America Director.
“The world has two power centers, political and financial. And we have to go after both if we have any hope of slowing down the pace of global heating,” said Bill McKibben, 350.org co-founder.
“The world is ablaze, and our biggest banks are pouring fuel on the fire. Research shows we can’t afford a single new piece of fossil fuel infrastructure, but Wall Street has missed the memo. It’s time to hold these arsonists accountable and stop the deadly money pipeline fueling climate devastation,” said Collin Rees, Senior Campaigner at Oil Change International.
“My family lost everything to superstorm Sandy. After Sandy, hurricane Maria devastated my family in Puerto Rico. The climate crisis is here and now and will get far, far worse if Wall Street doesn’t stop pouring money into climate destruction. It’s time to stop the money pipeline!” said Rachel Rivera, a member of New York Communities for Change.
“Our government won’t move on climate so we have to move our money. The fossil fuel industry can’t survive without its friends on Wall Street. Without loans, insurance and investment, Big Oil dries up. Money talks, and we can walk. Wall Street caused the financial crash. We won’t let it cause the climate crash,” said Clara Vondrich, Divest-Invest Director.
“Many of us feel there’s little we can do to fight the oil, coal and gas companies. Well, here’s something that we can do. We can take our money out of these dirty banks. By doing so we can take away these banks’ ability to fund more oil, coal and gas projects. It’s a targeted strike to the heart of the problem,” said Joel Bach, Executive Director, The YEARS Project.
“The international movement calling for divestment from dirty fossil fuels is only growing louder and stronger, and major financial institutions should take note,” said Lena Moffitt, Senior Director of the Sierra Club’s Our Wild America campaign. “It’s time for them to stop pouring money into the projects that are driving the climate crisis and commit to investing in a future that benefits our communities, our economies, our health, and our planet.”
“The brutal murders of forest guardians in the Amazon last fall are a tragic reminder of the dangers faced by indigenous people around the world as they defend their rights and the climate. We are putting Wall Street on notice: financial firms can no longer bury their heads in the sand in the interest of short-term profits; they must stop plowing money into the extractive industries that violate indigenous rights, deforest the Amazon, and destroy the global climate,” said Moira Birss, Finance Campaign Director at Amazon Watch.
“Financing fossil fuel companies and projects fuels the climate crisis. It’s time to hold banks, insurers, pension funds and other large investors accountable for their outsized role in perpetuating climate disaster and human rights violations,” said Micah Parkin, Executive Director of 350 Colorado.
“Climate chaos is already decimating the world, from worsening wildfires to widespread flooding and devastating droughts. Wall Street banks and insurance companies are fueling this crisis by pumping billions of dollars into fossil fuel projects that destroy local communities and our environment. We cannot solve the climate crisis until banks and insurance companies step up and stop financing environmental destruction. They must slash their financing for fossil fuel projects and end the abuses of frontline communities worldwide,” said Liz Butler, Vice President Organizing and Strategic Alliances of Friends of the Earth U.S.
“Money is the only language that the fossil fuel industry speaks. For decades, the industry’s game has been to pursue profit recklessly while shifting the costs onto local communities. Today, we have come together to announce that the rules of the game have changed and fossil fuel companies will be held accountable,” said EarthRights Executive Director Ka Hswa Wa.
“As the world’s largest investor in fossil fuel companies, BlackRock is effectively financing disinformation campaigns that have delayed climate action for decades. The world’s largest fossil fuel companies don’t have credible plans for keeping us in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement, and investors are giving a blank check to ExxonMobil, Chevron, and other oil and gas giants to continue their deceptive and destructive practices. Investors need to expect more and tolerate less from fossil fuel companies – and tell them to swiftly get on board with climate action, or get out of the way,” said Kathy Mulvey, Fossil Fuel Accountability Campaign Director at the Union of Concerned Scientists
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