Celebrities call on UK banks to stop financing new oil, gas and coal fields | Climate crisis

A raft of famous names including Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson and Mark Rylance have joined activists and businesses in calling on the UK’s big five banks to stop financing new oil, gas and coal expansion.

Make My Money Matter, a campaign set up by Richard Curtis, the screenwriter, director and Comic Relief co-founder, has written to the chief executives of HSBC, Barclays, Santander, NatWest and Lloyds to urge these banks to “stop financing fossil fuel expansion”.

Curtis said they wanted to raise public awareness of “the dangerous relationship between UK banks and the fossil fuel industry”.

Members of the public are being invited to join forces with celebrities, politicians, campaigners and business leaders by signing the open letter.

The call comes days after research indicated that banks and finance institutions that had signed up to net-zero pledges were still investing heavily in fossil fuels.

Make My Money Matter pointed to a report in February 2022 from the campaign group ShareAction, which claimed that in 2021 HSBC, Barclays, Santander, NatWest and Lloyds, between them provided almost $16bn (£12.9bn) in finance to the 50 largest oil and gas companies that were expanding production.

Curtis’ group said this was “despite clear guidance from the International Energy Agency that we cannot develop new oil and gas fields if we are to limit global warming to below 1.5C degrees”.

The ShareAction report also stated that between 2016 and 2021 the five UK banks financed…

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