Extinction Rebellion Youth silently and peacefully protested at big banks on Thursday in the Hobart CBD.
After leading their first demonstration only a few days ago – a banner drop from Remembrance Bridge and along the Tasman Highway – Extinction Rebellion Youth were back in action to take it to the banks.
The focus was the banks’ involvement and investment in the fossil fuel industry. They highlighted the billions of dollars loaned by big banks to the fossil fuel industry, and the direct link between their investment and the climate crisis the world currently faces.
Protesters held up signs for each of the three banks they attended: ANZ, Westpac & Commonwealth These signs outlined their contribution to the fossil fuel industry in dollar amounts, showing onlookers how much the banks are ‘funding climate crisis’. The numbers are in the billions – roughly 70 billion dollars between the four big banks over the last 10 years.
Young people protesting held burnt wood from forests in the Huon Valley that were devastated by fire earlier this year. They aimed to highlight the link between the fossil fuel industry, the climate crisis, and its effects on our communities. The bushfires in Tasmania and those ablaze around the country at the moment are just one example of this.
Extinction Rebellion Youth state that the aim of such actions is to compel banks to divest from fossil fuels.
The following are extracts from the Extinction Rebellion media release issued prior to the protest. They are the voices of young leaders speaking to the need to take action.
“We are targeting the banks because they are not acting in the interests of the people who hold accounts,” said Darcy Wright.
“The big four are investing massively in fossil fuels, using money from most Australian citizens. These investments contribute greatly to the climate crisis, the effects of which we can plainly see; bushfires, extreme weather events and animal extinction. They are funding the burning of houses, farms and bushland, and the rapid decline of ecosystems.”
Lucy Tice, spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion Youth Tasmania said: “We won’t stand by while big banks profit from burning our future.”
“Continued investments and loans to fossil fuel projects will take us beyond 1.5 degrees of warming and dangerous tipping points that lead to runaway warming. Business as usual is not acceptable in a climate emergency.”
Fossil fuels – where does your bank stand?
The positions of all major banks and financial institutions are summarised and compared here.
Earlier this week Standard Chartered Bank confirmed it was withdrawing from its investment in three existing coal projects. In 2018 the bank had announced that it would no longer fund new coal, but retained involvement in three projects where it ‘was already committed’. These included the Vung Ang 2 and Vinh Tan 3 plants in Vietnam.
This week however SC stated that it would withdraw from coal completely as it moved to align its lending portfolio with the goals set by the Paris Agreement of limiting global warming to significantly below 2 degrees. A new initiative was a pledge to only support clients who actively transition their business to generate less than 10% of earnings from thermal coal by 2030.
SC group Chief Executive Bill Winters said “There is still much work to be done to ultimately reduce the emissions generated by our financing activities, but we are making good progress toward doing so. We are determined to continue to leverage our strong position across our markets to bring the required capital for sustainable development to where it matters most.”
Watch the fearless XR Youth occupy branches of three major banks (Westpac, ANZ and Comm bank) in nipaluna / Hobart today. Between them, these banks provide billions of dollars worth of funding to the fossil fuel industry. Our banks are sponsoring extinction. They're funding the wilful destruction of this generation's futures. It's time for that to end.The kids are rising 🔥🔥🔥Join XR Tas Youth: https://www.facebook.com/groups/365173497509357/#rebelforlife
Posted by Extinction Rebellion Tasmania on Thursday, 19 December 2019