Follow the Money
Following the money, it’s becoming clear to more and more people that banks, insurance companies, and other big financial players are key levers for stopping the destruction of our communities and climate. They finance endless fossil fuel growth that creates more climate disasters, impacting millions of people a year. These big finance firms are also why so many can’t afford homes, get medical treatment, or struggle to keep their lights on. And these same giants whisper in the ears of the government and media, influencing politics and policy, and slowing the energy transition we so desperately need.
Big finance is funding fossil fuels
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Banks are backing the fossil fuel industry: From 2016 to 2020, the world’s 60 largest banks invested $3.8 trillion into fossil fuel projects and companies. That’s a lot of coal mines, pipelines, and dirty factories. While many of us do our part to slow climate change, banks use our money to prop up the very companies making climate change worse.
Global asset managers, like BlackRock and Vanguard, supply fossil fuel companies with a steady stream of capital. They also invest heavily in companies driving deforestation and back firms that undermine Indigenous rights. Asset managers that continue to fund the climate crisis face exponential risks: both environmental and financial.
Real climate action from investors is more pressing and important than ever. More often, we’re seeing climate-fuelled extreme weather events debilitating communities across the world and leaving death and destruction in their wake. If climate chaos — enabled by the investment industry — is allowed to wreak havoc on this world, shareholders will have a lot more to worry about than just their profits drying up.
The fossil fuel industry depends on insurance coverage for building and maintaining its coal mines, power plants and pipelines. Insurance companies are supposed to protect us from catastrophic risks. Yet when it comes to the largest threat to humanity – climate change – insurers are perpetuating dependence on fossil fuels by insuring new coal, oil and gas projects.
If financial institutions want to gamble with our future, it needs to be with their own money, not ours. For every dollar banks and governments invest in fossil fuels, they must use a dollar of their own funds to cover any future losses themselves, rather than rely on government bailouts.