London, 10th November 2021
More than 6 in 10 people in the UK support policies to stop financial firms fuelling the climate crisis, new polling has revealed.
61% of 2000 UK adults surveyed by Opinium Research were in favour of ‘stopping banks, insurers and other private financiers from supporting and profiting from fossil fuel extraction’, while only 9% oppose such measures.
The polling comes a week after the Bank of England announced that it will look into adjusting the amount of capital banks hold to reflect climate risk through next year, a measure which could help stem investment into fossil fuels. It also follows 85 UK lawmakers writing to the Bank of England in October, calling on Britain’s central bank to regulate fossil fuel finance.
Finance has been high on the agenda at COP26, with the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) claiming that financial institutions with assets worth $130tn are now committed to net zero. But experts and campaigners have pointed out that members of the voluntary GFANZ continue to invest heavily in fossil fuels, and have called for regulatory action to stop this.
Fran Boait, executive director of research and campaign group Positive Money, said:
“While finance has been high on the agenda at COP26, it is disappointing that there has been more focus on questionable pledges from bankers, rather than actual regulation to stop banks continuing to profit from the destruction of our planet.
“Governments and regulators like the Bank of England are finally accepting that stronger rules on fossil fuel lending may be necessary, but they are still not taking action at the pace and scale needed to avert the worst impacts of climate breakdown.
“Both experts such as the International Energy Agency and now the public are clear – we need to stop investment in new fossil fuels. Action must start this year, and it needs to be our public institutions, not private bank CEOs, leading the way.”
- Full polling results can be viewed here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1HKPjlPYXvOkX6lppIgLNht1-P0jCwEsafQUfUyakiUE/edit?usp=sharing
- For more information on the Bank of England’s climate capital rules announcement, see: https://positivemoney.org/2021/10/bank-of-england-moves-closer-to-climate-capital-rules/
- In October, 85 MPs and peers wrote to the Bank of England governor to ask for more ambitious action on greening the financial system, including regulation to reflect the high risk of fossil fuel lending: https://positivemoney.org/2021/10/85-lawmakers-tell-bank-of-england-to-get-banks-in-line-ahead-of-cop26/
- The International Energy Agency has called for no new investments in fossil fuel to meet net zero by 2050: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/may/18/no-new-investment-in-fossil-fuels-demands-top-energy-economist
- The world’s biggest financial firms, many of whom are GFANZ members, invested $3.8tn into fossil fuels between 2016 and 2020: https://www.ran.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Banking-on-Climate-Chaos-2021.pdf
- UK GFANZ members Barclays, HSBC and Standard Chartered alone have poured more than $15bn into fossil from the start of 2021 up until COP26: https://marketforces.org.uk/race-to-disaster/
- Positive Money and the New Economics Foundation published a roadmap for how the Treasury and the Bank of England can take actions to green the financial system while supporting a Build Back Better recovery, June 2021: https://positivemoney.org/2021/06/encourage-green-lending-to-build-back-better-government-and-bank-of-england-told-report/
- Positive Money is a research and campaign organisation working towards a money and banking system which supports a fair, democratic and sustainable economy. Set up in the aftermath of the financial crisis, Positive Money is a not-for-profit company funded by charitable trusts and foundations, as well as small donations from its network of over 65,000 supporters. www.positivemoney.org.
- For more information from Positive Money or to arrange a briefing/interview with a spokesperson, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Anna Pick on 07948802104.