"It's time to end fossil finance because
That's the takeaway
message from climate strikers who took to the streets worldwide on Friday to demand an immediate end to the financing of all fossil fuel projects amid a worsening global emergency largely driven by coal, gas, and oil.
"The capitalistic system continuously puts profit over people," the youth-led Fridays for Future movement said in a statement. "Corporations' greed for more profit is driving the destruction of ecosystems and the climate. At the same time, frontline communities are paying the highest price while being the most affected by the climate crisis."
"The Global North's fossil finance is the cause of the climate crisis, neocolonial exploitation, wars, and human rights violations," Fridays for Future continued. Acknowledging the plight of frontline communities, the group argued that "as a global climate justice movement, it is our responsibility to join their fight and amplify their voices and demands."
The international movement—spurred by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who as a teenager engaged in a solitary strike outside her country's parliament—highlighted some specific battles against polluters' exploitation:
From the fight against fracking in the indigenous territories of the Esto'k Gna tribe in North America, to local resistance in Huasteca Potosina in Mexico or Vaca Muerta in Argentina; the resistance against the [East African Crude Oil Pipeline] in Uganda and Tanzania; the fight against gas fields in front of the coast of Senegal or LNG terminals in Mozambique; the resistance of the Peruvian people against deforestation and oil drilling in the Amazon; to local fisher’s fight against TEEPSA in South Africa—all these fights are connected and their cause is finance. Fossil fuel corporations like Shell, TotalEnergies, Repsol, Perenco, or Chevron can only realize these projects because of money that is provided to them by banks, insurers, and investors.
In addition to demanding an end to fossil fuel financing, Fridays for Future is calling on the historically largest emitters of planet-heating pollution and Global North countries to "unconditionally cancel the Global South's financial debt" and provide reparations.
"Ending fossil finance is not a question of technical capacity but it is a matter of political will," the group said. "From voting to civil disobedience, we call on everyone to grassroots organize and act against fossil capitalism through the means of action suitable for them. For climate justice, we need to break the influence of fossil fuel corporations, banks, and insurers."
Various groups including global and local arms of
Climate Action Network, Friends of the Earth, World Wide Fund for Nature, and 350.org supported the strike in the streets and on social media, sharing updates from demonstrations with the hashtags #FridaysForFuture, #GlobalClimateStrike, and #TomorrowIsTooLate.
"No action is too small to make a difference,"
tweeted Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate.
African civil society groups—already
pressuring leaders across the continent to ditch plans for further fossil fuel projects—not only joined the global strike but also organized events including "art exhibitions highlighting the role of renewable energy as one of the key solutions to the climate crisis, public dialogue on fossil fuels, and the screening of a documentary on the planned East African Crude Oil Pipeline," according to 350.org.
"The role of financial systems in the climate crisis is undeniable, as they continue to channel huge amounts to the fossil fuel industry, which is destroying our planet as it profits from coal, oil, and gas exploration," declared 350.org regional director Landry Ninteretse. "We are calling on financial institutions involved in fossil projects on the continent, such as the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, to rule out support for such projects."
"In addition, African nations must recognize that phasing out obsolete and harmful fossil fuels and leveraging the renewable energy potential at our disposal is key to keeping catastrophic impacts of the climate crisis at bay," he said. "The just transition powered by clean and decentralized renewables is urgent for Africa as the region most affected and vulnerable to the climate crisis."
"We cannot afford to gamble with the future of our planet and humanity," he warned, "by allowing or supporting the continued expansion of fossil fuels."