“Stop the Money Pipeline”: 150 Arrested at Protests Exposing Wall Street’s Link to Climate Crisis

Nearly 150 people were arrested on Capitol Hill Friday in a climate protest led by Academy Award-winning actor and activist Jane Fonda.

Fonda has been leading weekly climate demonstrations in Washington, D.C., known as “Fire Drill Fridays,” since October. For her last and 14th protest, actors Martin Sheen and Joaquin Phoenix, indigenous anti-pipeline activist Tara Houska, journalist Naomi Klein and dozens more lined up to get arrested as they demanded a mass uprising and swift political action to thwart the climate crisis.

Fonda then marched with supporters down Pennsylvania Avenue to a Chase Bank branch where environmentalist Bill McKibben and dozens of others were occupying the space to draw attention to the bank’s ties to the fossil fuel industry.

Ten, including McKibben, were arrested. The day of action was the launch of “Stop the Money Pipeline,” a campaign to halt the flow of cash from banks, investment firms and insurance companies to the fossil fuel industry.

“Let us remember that we are not the criminals,” Naomi Klein told a crowd of protesters. “The criminals are the people who are letting this world burn for money.”

….The day of action was the launch of the “Stop the Money Pipeline” campaign to halt the flow of cash from banks, investment firms and insurance companies to the fossil fuel industry. The day of protests began with Jane Fonda outside the Capitol.

TRANSCRIPT

Climate Movement Takes Aim at Wall Street, Because ‘Money Is Only Language Fossil Fuel Industry Speaks

“Stop the Money Pipeline” campaign demands that banks, insurers, and asset managers cut ties with planet-destroying companies.

STMP image

Stop the Money Pipeline, a new campaign from climate activists, aims to convince Wall Street to stop financing the fossil fuel industry. (Image: Stop the Money Pipeline)

Climate activists on Thursday announced a new campaign that aims to send a message to Wall Street: “Stop financing fossil fuels and deforestation and start respecting human rights and Indigenous sovereignty.”

“Money is the only language that the fossil fuel industry speaks.” —Ka Hswa Wa, EarthRights International

Organized by a coalition of climate, youth, and Indigenous groups, Stop the Money Pipeline will officially launch Friday at the final event in a weekly civil disobedience series that actor and activist Jane Fonda kicked off in October called Fire Drill Fridays.

Several vocal climate campaigners plan to join Fonda at the Friday launch, including celebrities Martin Sheen and Joaquin Phoenix, Indigenous leaders Tara Houska and Eriel Deranger, Greenpeace USA executive director Annie Leonard, and authors and activists Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben.

— Fire Drill Fridays (@FireDrillFriday)

Join the #FireDrillFriday 🔥 teach-in on Thursday with @Janefonda, @greenpeaceusa‘s @AnnieMLeonard, @350‘s @billmckibben, & @Indigenous_ca‘s @erieltd.

This will be the last teach-in before Jane returns to LA.

Tune in at 7pm ET: https://t.co/qX7b5UYr1x

Art by Sarah Epperson pic.twitter.com/wqPYR1rLT3

Artwork for Fire Drill Friday's Thursday teach-in hosted by Jane Fonda

January 8, 2020

Like previous weeks, before the Friday rally and protest there will be a Thursday night livestreamed teach-in, which will feature Deranger, Leonard, and McKibben.

McKibben co-founded the global environmental advocacy group 350.org, which announced Stop the Money Pipeline in a joint statement from organizers Thursday.

“A chorus of high profile voices—including scientists, the United Nations, European central banks, and the IMF—have all sounded the alarm about the role of the finance industry in driving climate destruction, but so far their calls for action have fallen on deaf ears,” the statement said. “The Stop the Money Pipeline mobilization will bring together a number of existing campaigns targeting the worst offenders in each part of the financial sector.”

“We cannot solve the climate crisis until banks and insurance companies step up and stop financing environmental destruction.”
—Liz Butler, Friends of the Earth U.S.

Liz Butler, vice president of organizing and strategic alliances at Friends of the Earth U.S., explained that “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,” Butler added.

Carroll Muffett, president at the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), highlighted some conditions frontline communities currently face and the ongoing legal actions that aim to hold polluters financially liable for wrecking the planet.

“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,” he said. “Fossil fuel producers are already being held accountable in courtrooms around the world. The financial sector should take note, take action or take cover.”

Other group involved in Stop the Money Pipeline include Rainforest Action Network (RAN), Sierra Club, Greenpeace USA, Sunrise Project, Future Coalition, Divest Ed, Divest-Invest, Native Movement, Giniw Collective, Transition U.S., Oil Change International, 350 Seattle, EarthRights International, Union of Concerned Scientists, Majority Action, The YEARS Project, and Amazon Watch.

While the campaign’s broad demand is that “banks, asset managers, and insurance companies stop funding, insuring, and investing in climate destruction,” the advocacy organizations have identified three primary and initial targets: JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock, and Liberty Mutual.

top targets

 

“As the world’s largest investor in fossil fuel companies, BlackRock is effectively financing disinformation campaigns that have delayed climate action for decades,” declared Kathy Mulvey, a campaign director at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “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.”

BlackRock announced Thursday that it is joining the Climate Action 100+ investor initiative. Members of the BlackRock’s Big Problem network responded by calling the move a “first step in the right direction” and urging the firm to “go beyond words and actually make meaningful changes to the way it wields its power.”

According to the tenth annual Fossil Fuel Finance Report Cardreleased in March 2019 by RAN and other groups, 33 global banks have collectively poured at least $1.9 trillion into the fossil fuel industry since world leaders adopted the Paris climate agreement in December 2015. The report card identified Chase as the bank that gave the most to coal, gas, and oil companies from 2016 to 2018.

“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.”—Clara Vondrich, Divest-Invest

“Banks around the globe are betting against our future with every dollar they invest in fossil fuels,” Greenpeace USA climate campaign director Janet Redman said Thursday. “Money is the oxygen on which the climate crisis burns—and we need everyone to care where their money is being spent.”

As EarthRights International executive director Ka Hswa Wa put it: “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.”

Organizers see Stop the Money Pipeline as the next phase of the global movement fighting for divestment from fossil fuels and investment in renewable energy, which has secured commitments from over 1,150 institutions with more than $12 trillion in total assets, according to a real-time tracker from 350.org’s Fossil Free 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.”

Divest-Invest director Clara Vondrich emphasized the added importance of pressuring major financial players to take action to address the climate emergency given that global governments continue to drag their feet.

“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,” Vondrich said. “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.” SOURCE

‘Biggest compliment yet’: Greta Thunberg welcomes oil chief’s ‘greatest threat’ label

Activists say comments by Opec head prove world opinion is turning against fossil fuels


 Greta Thunberg tweeted: ‘Thank you! Our biggest compliment yet!’ in response to Mohammed Barkindo’s comments Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Greta Thunberg and other climate activists have said it is a badge of honour that the head of the world’s most powerful oil cartel believes their campaign may be the “greatest threat” to the fossil fuel industry.

The criticism of striking students by the trillion-dollar Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) highlights the growing reputational concerns of oil companies as public protests intensify along with extreme weather.

Mohammed Barkindo, the secretary general of Opec, said there was a growing mass mobilisation of world opinion against oil, which was “beginning to … dictate policies and corporate decisions, including investment in the industry”.

He said the pressure was also being felt within the families of Opec officials because their own children “are asking us about their future because … they see their peers on the streets campaigning against this industry”.

Although he accused the campaigners of misleading people with unscientific arguments, the comments were welcomed by student and divestment campaigners as a sign the oil industry is worried it may be losing the battle for public opinion.

“Thank you! Our biggest compliment yet!” tweeted Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish initiator of the school student strike movement, which continues every Friday.

“Brilliant! Proof that we are having an impact and be sure that we will not stop,” said Holly Gillibrand, who was among the first students in the UK to join the global climate strikes.

Opec – which is made up of 14 countries with 80% of the world’s proven oil reserves – is planning to expand production, which is undermining efforts to slow global heating. The backlash is not just from students, Extinction Rebellion activists and climate scientists.

Insurance companies – which have the most to lose from storms, floods, fires and other extreme weather – are increasingly pulling investment from fossil fuel assets. The governor of the Bank of England has warned of growing climate risks to the financial sector.

Earlier this week, the London Stock Exchange reclassified oil and gas companies under a non-renewable energy category that effectively puts them on the wrong side of climate crisis. MORE

OPEC head: Climate activists are the ‘greatest threat’ to oil industry


OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo. AFP / Getty Images

CARTEL IT LIKE IT IS

What’s one of the world’s most powerful cartel’s afraid of? A bunch of meddling kids.

Climate activists and their “unscientific” claims are “perhaps the greatest threat to our industry going forward,” said Mohammed Barkindo, the secretary general of OPEC (the cartel representing 14 countries with 80 percent of the world’s oil reserves) earlier this week.

He might have been talking about protesters more broadly, but the rest of his statement suggests that young people are being particularly irksome. Barkindo said some of his colleague’s children are asking them about the future because “they see their peers on the streets campaigning against this industry.” (I guess the birds and the bees isn’t the most uncomfortable conversation parents are having with their kids in OPEC households.)

This is, of course, heartening news for climate activists. Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swede famous for starting a movement of youth strikes calling for climate action, thanked OPEC for the compliment.

Greta Thunberg

@GretaThunberg

“There is a growing mass mobilisation of world opinion… against oil” and this is “perhaps the greatest threat to our industry”.
OPEC calls the school strike movement and climate campaigners their “greatest threat”.

Thank you! Our biggest compliment yet!https://www.afp.com/en/news/826/climate-campaigners-greatest-threat-oil-sector-opec-doc-1i79w11 

Climate campaigners ‘greatest threat’ to oil sector: OPEC

afp.com

Barkindo is right that climate advocates are winning over the hearts and minds of the people. Surveys show that 57 percent of Americans now think fossil fuel companies are at least partially responsible for climate change. Meanwhile, support for policies that would cut into fossil fuel companies’ bottom lines, like transitioning to renewable energy infrastructure, is increasing as approval for expanding fossil fuel infrastructure and offshore drilling declines.

As for climate activists’ “unscientific claims,” it’s unclear if Barkindo had a particular statement in mind, but the science pretty unequivocally supports demands for urgent change. Global emissions need to be drastically cut by 2050 to avoid more than 1.5 degrees C of warming, and to do that we need to use way less fossil fuels.

It’s not just public opinion that’s turning against the fossil fuel industry — insurance companies and investors are increasingly opting to put their money elsewhere. But that’s not the fault of some upstart kids: It’s because science and common sense are showing fossil fuels are a bad investment, especially in the long run. Recent figures estimate that climate change could cost the world economy as much as $69 trillion by 2100. MORE