For Immediate Release
Disruptive Action at European Investment Bank Demands End to Public Finance for Fossil Fuels
WASHINGTON - Today, protesters from across Europe will descend on the headquarters of the financial arm of the European Union, the European Investment Bank (EIB) to demand an immediate end to the public bank’s financial support of fossil fuel projects around the world. This is the first time that the EIB’s head office has ever been directly targeted and disrupted in this way. The action is taking place just one week before the 28 EU Finance Ministers – the EIB’s Board of Governors – will be holding meetings to review the bank’s energy lending policies.
More than 70 people representing communities from at least twelve countries will occupy the bank’s entrance. The Executive Director of the EIB will be invited to join participants as they listen to the testimonies of representatives from communities around the world who are fighting against new fossil fuel projects funded by the EIB. Participants will use art, songs and chants and demand an immediate end to financial support for fossil fuel companies and projects.
The EIB is the world’s largest multilateral lender, even larger than the World Bank, and is currently facing mounting pressure to update lending policies so they are in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change. The Governors of the EIB are finance ministers of EU member states and, as such, have a responsibility to act in accordance with national and international climate targets. Public pressure to ensure that they do this has increased considerably in recent months as a result of the school strikes and other climate movements that have been sweeping Europe. A number of protests have targeted the financial sector, in particular, highlighting the role of both public and private finance in propping up the fossil fuel industry and driving climate breakdown. Actions like this will continue, and intensify, in the coming months.
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Camille, one of the protesters said, “This morning again, people across Europe are rising up to demand that our money will no longer be used to support the expansion of fossil fuel projects around the world. Communities across the world are already feeling the impacts of climate breakdown. We need to change course faster, but despite this, money keeps flowing to new and existing fossil fuel projects – the EIB lent nearly €12 billion to fossil fuels between 2013 and 2017 despite calling itself a “climate leader.”
“Young people across more than 165 countries are striking in numbers we have never seen before to demand bold action to keep fossil fuels in the ground and preserve their future. We all need to take action that is commensurate to the threat. That means going after the fossil fuel industry, and its political and financial backers.”
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350 is the red line for human beings, the most important number on the planet. The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth. But solutions exist. All around the world, a movement is building to take on the climate crisis, to get humanity out of the danger zone and below 350. This movement is massive, it is diverse, and it is visionary. We are activists, scholars, and scientists. We are leaders in our businesses, our churches, our governments, and our schools. We are clean energy advocates, forward-thinking politicians, and fearless revolutionaries. And we are united around the world, driven to make our planet livable for all who come after us.