BREAKING: “End Fossil Fuels Now!” Extinction Rebellion disrupts HSBC AGM

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At around 11.30am on Friday April 29, members of Money Rebellion, a group within Extinction Rebellion specifically targeting financial institutions, interrupted HSBC’s annual general meeting in central London to demand that the banking services giant and financiers immediately stop investing in new fossil fuel projects. . Shortly after the 11am AGM started at Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank, a flash mob of singers interrupted HSBC Chairman Mark Tucker’s speech by singing an edited version of the hit Abba Money, Money, Money. [1]

Outside the venue, attendees were greeted by a banner bearing a quote from Kurt Vonnegut that read, “Dear future generations, please accept our apologies. We were driving drunk on oil.

Artists gathered outside the venue from 11 a.m., dressed as bankers with cigars and champagne flutes full of fake oil and toasted their fossil fuel profits as management and HSBC shareholders filed into the room. In 2021 alone, HSBC has invested nearly $18 billion in the fossil fuel industry, and last May reports emerged that HSBC had stakes in companies planning 73 new coal-fired power plants.[2] [3]

The multinational banking and financial services company also remains a major banker for Saudi Aramco and Exxonmobil, which are ranked first and fourth respectively in the Carbon Majors database of fossil fuel companies responsible for global carbon emissions since 1965. [4] [5]

The action follows a stern warning from the UN Secretary-General earlier this month that investing in new fossil fuels is “moral and economic folly”. [6] The recent IPCC report on climate change mitigation found that financial flows for fossil fuels are even greater than those for climate adaptation and mitigation and that achieving national climate goals would leave large amounts of unburned fossil fuels – which means up to $4 trillion in assets tied up worldwide. We alone. [7]

Money Rebellion member, mother and former head of commodity finance at Rabobank, Claude Fourcroy said: “Let’s face it, the banks are not going to regulate themselves and do the right thing. Bringing them together under the same umbrella like the GFANZ, allows banks to define a rhythm that suits them.

“There is no longer any doubt that funding new fossil fuel infrastructure should be a financial crime. Everyone present at the HSBC AGM today knows this and should think about the legacy they want to leave.

Bristol-based group The EarthQuakes also got in on the action, posing a specific challenge to HSBC shareholders: is it okay for our banks to continue funding fossil fuels, even Russian oil and gas companies? HSBC has stakes in five of Russia’s largest oil and gas companies – Gazprom, Rosneft, Tatneft, Lukoil and Novatek. They own more than 16 million shares in Gazprom and nearly a million shares in Rosneft, and since the Russian state is the largest shareholder in both companies, HSBC investments help finance the invasion of the ‘Ukraine. [8]

Jo Flanagan of EarthQuakes said: “We want to encourage shareholders and customers to find out what HSBC is doing with their money and to ask the tough questions. Do they really want to support a bank that is accelerating climate change and financing bloodshed in Ukraine?

“Our main accusation against HSBC is that they seem to see nothing wrong with profit by destroying our planet. If shareholders believe it is acceptable to continue investing with HSBC, we urge them to consider how they will explain this decision to their children.

The earthquakes also called on the government and HSBC to “clean up Moscow on the Thames” as London is the capital of money laundering for Russian oligarchs. This follows the undisputed findings of the Financial Conduct Authority in December 2021 that HSBC failed to block inappropriate transactions leading to the financing of money laundering and terrorist activities. [9]

Today’s action was the first in a series of protests planned by different groups as part of the Defund Climate Chaos coalition. [10] Over the next few weeks there will be public demonstrations outside the general meetings of Barclays, Standard Chartered, Lloyd’s of London and Shell.

Andrew Taylor of Defund Climate Chaos said: “We will target you, we will regulate you, we will prosecute you, we will dismantle the economic systems and the systems of power that you maintain, we will force you to fix the climate crisis and the extractivism that you continue to activate around the world. world.”

The action also follows several weeks of disruption from groups such as Extinction Rebellion and supporters of the Just Stop Oil coalition to demand an immediate end to all new fossil fuel investment. Other groups working to end fossil fuels include the Committee on Climate Change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the International Energy Agency, UNEP and the UN . [11]

For footage and images of the action:

Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/8gjt4rsfi4urtvz46xop0/h?dl=0&rlkey=tohlt0ud6igukqpmyz4dhx05c

Pics.io: https://show.pics.io/xr-global-media-breaking-news-content-600ed2733c68d80019a19bc7/search?tagId=600ed6023c68d80019a19f6e

Notes to Editors

[1] Revised version of ABBA’s Money, Money, Money:

Money, money, money
It’s so dodgy
In the world of HSBC
Money, greedy, money,
Is so dirty
In the world of HSBC
Haha
All the lives we could save
If they put all their money into solar, wind and waves.

[2] Banking on Climate Chaos Report, 2022: https://reclaimfinance.org/site/en/2022/03/30/banking-on-climate-chaos-report-2022/

[3] HSBC has stakes in companies planning over 70 new coal plants: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/12/hsbc-has-stakes-in-firms-that-plan-more -than- 70-new-coal-power-plants

[4] Oil and gas expansion A lose-lose bet for banks and their investors:

https://shareaction.org/reports/oil-gas-expansion-a-lose-lose-bet-for-banks-and-their-investors

[5] Carbon Majors Update 1965-2018, Climate Accountability Institute: https://climateaccountability.org/pdf/CAI%20PressRelease%20Dec20.pdf

[6] Secretary-General warns of climate emergency, calling Intergovernmental Panel report “a record of shame”, while saying leaders are “lying”, fueling the flames: https://www.un. org/press/en/2022/sgsm21228.doc. html

[7] IPCC Sixth Assessment Report – Climate Change Mitigation: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg3/

Climate finance groups call on financial institutions to heed IPCC report urging world to stop using fossil fuels: https://www.ran.org/press-releases/climate-finance-groups-call -on-financial-institutions-to-heed -ipcc-report-urging-the-world-to-stop-using-fossil-fuels/

[8] HSBC faces pressure on Russian oil investments after Ukraine invasion: https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/russia-ukraine-oil-hsbc-investments- b2027942.html

[9] HSBC fined £64m for eight years of anti-money laundering failures: https://www.cityam.com/hsbc-fined-63-9m-over-eight-years -of-anti-money-laundering-failures/

Moscow on the Thames: Soviet-born billionaires and their connections to Britain’s political elite:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jul/25/moscow-on-thames-russia-billionaires-soviet-donors-conservatives

The ‘London Laundromat’: Will Britain Wean Off Russian Money?

https://www.ft.com/content/cfb74ef3-13d2-492a-b8da-c70b6340ccdd

[10] Defund Climate Chaos: https://defundclimatechaos.uk/

[11] 2022: The year the movement of movements align to end fossil fuels: https://extinctionrebellion.uk/2022/03/04/2022-the-year-the-movement-of-movements-align- to-end-fossil-fuels/

ABOUT EXTINCTION REBELLION

The time is almost entirely up to deal with the ecological crisis that is upon us, including the 6th mass extinction of species, global pollution and accelerating climate change. Unless urgent and drastic action is taken, we are heading for 4˚C warming, and the societal collapse and massive loss of life that this entails. The younger generation, racially marginalized communities and countries of the South are on the front line. No one will escape the devastating impacts.

Extinction Rebellion believes it is the duty of a citizen to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, in the face of the criminal inactivity of their government.

The main demands of Extinction Rebellion are:

  1. The government must speak the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. The government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. The government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on Climate and Ecological Justice.

What urgency? | Extinction Rebellion in Numbers | This is not an exercise: an Extinction Rebellion manual

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