Belper church campaigners call on HSBC to end fossil fuel finance

Campaigners from Belper churches visited the town's HSBC branch on Wednesday, April 17, to urge the bank to stop financing fossil fuels and their impact on the climate.
Campaigners from Belper churches visited the town's HSBC branch on Wednesday, April 17, to urge the bank to stop financing fossil fuels and their impact on the climate.

Campaigners from Belper churches marched on HSBC last week to urge the bank to end support for climate-wrecking fossil fuels.

The five campaigners were part of a nationwide action by Christian Aid to call for an end to financing for activities such as new coal-fired power plants which are heavy emitters of greenhouse gases.

Tony Ward, from St Peter’s Church, said: “This is not the kind of thing I have done before, but these are exceptional times. We have sat back and expected ‘other people’ to tackle climate change for too long.”

Christian Aid’s Lent appeal was called Rise Up, and emphasised the need for supporters to speak out for all those people whose livelihoods are being destroyed.

The charity is pushing HSBC to play its part in keeping with the Paris Agreement’s target of keeping the global warming rise within 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial temperatures.

The Belper campaigners delivered a letter to bank staff to forward to HSBC chief executive, John Flint, plus a petition urging the bank to invest in clean energy and help protect the world and its people.

Tom Wyke, Christian Aid’s regional coordinator for Derbyshire, said: “HSBC claims that ‘Together we Thrive’, but its continued investment in fossil fuels means that millions of people face a future in which it will be difficult to survive, never mind thrive.

“An ambitious plan would be for HSBC to shift their finances out of fossil fuels and into renewable energy with clear, measurable and timebound targets. This is the most important step they could take to live up to their new strapline.”

He added: “Staff at the bank were happy to listen to what we had to say and agreed to pass the letter on.

“Change happens when people come together and it’s great to know that we are part of a national movement from Cornwall to Aberdeen.”

HSBC has committed to invest $100billion in tackling climate change by 2025, but it continues to finance fossil fuel mining operations and power plants in some parts of the world.