CLIMATE activists greeted customers at two Taunton banks during a recent demonstration.

Extinction Rebellion activists were in the town to demonstrate the role Barclays and HSBC banks play in funding fossil fuels.

They were dressed as city bankers, bearing open briefcases of oil-covered money, demanding the companies 'Stop the Harm' by immediately ending all new fossil fuel investments.

They handed out leaflets and discussed the protest with shoppers as they made their way around the town, giving information on ethical banking.

The action was part of wider protests across the country and in London, where Extinction Rebellion activists were drawing attention to the huge role they say banks and the finance industry play in exacerbating the climate and ecological emergency.

The group says that in just three years, Barclays provided £62 billion in funding to fossil fuel companies, including companies involved in coal, fracking, tar sands, and Arctic oil projects.

Somerset County Gazette:

A spokesperson from Extinction Rebellion Taunton said: “We are here ... to tell the truth about Europe's most destructive bank which, despite empty promises, continues to fund the most environmentally damaging projects in the world.

"We want to inform the public that one of the biggest ways they can help tackle the climate crisis is simply by switching to an ethical bank.

"You can see if your bank is causing harm by visiting"

In May 2021, the International Energy Agency's (IEA) report warned that all new fossil fuel investments must stop immediately if our planet is to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate collapse.

This was corroborated in August 2021 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, authored by 234 scientists from across the globe.

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the latest report as heralding a ‘Code Red for Humanity’, in its emphasis on the ‘irrefutable’ evidence of human-driven global heating.

In May this year, HSBC bowed to investor pressure over its support for fossil fuels, vowing to phase out its financing of coal-fired power and coal mining by 2030 in developed economies, and by 2040 elsewhere in the world.

Somerset County Gazette:
At Barclays in Taunton