The Big Shift

Our finances are fuelling climate change. It’s time to make the Big Shift towards a renewable future. 

Christian Aid – Stop Banks Financing Fossil Fuels

In 2015, governments and world leaders pledged to stop climate change from rising about 2°, as part of the Paris Agreement.  To make this happen, governments and scientists agree that we must move towards a net zero carbon economy.

This is something within all of our power to work towards, and we’re already making a start this Lent by changing our lifestyles for the climate.

However, some of the big players in making this happen are those who hold the purse strings – government and, significantly, big banks. 

Christian Aid’s Big Shift campaign states that in order to stop climate change, the financial sector must stop investing in fossil fuels. However, their research shows that

“the biggest banks in the UK are still much more heavily invested in fossil fuels than in renewable energy and that none of them have a clear, timebound plan or commitment to reverse this current balance.”

‘Why The Big Shift?’, Christian Aid

At the moment, for every £1 invested in renewable energy, £3.24 is still invested in fossil fuels.

55% of global investment in energy extraction and infrastructure went towards fossil fuels in 2015, compared to 17% for renewables. [1]

Furthermore, Christian Aid suggests that the more we invest in fossil fuels now, the more they will continue to be an unsustainable part of the global economy.

This is active investment in climate change, and it is affecting people all over the globe on a daily basis, such as Sussett.

You can find out more about Sussett here.

Christian Aid’s research shows that there aren’t just social and ecological benefits to divesting from fossil fuels, but financial ones too. In 2016, The World Economic Forum identified the failure to tackle climate change as the biggest risk we face. 

In order to change things, we need to act now, by joining our individual actions towards change with a call on those in power to change their practices too. We need to help banks understand the climate risks of financing fossil fuels and the opportunities of financing clean energy.

Over the last two years, Christian Aid’s Big Shift campaign has targeted Barclays, HSBC, RBS and Lloyds and has asked them to make the Big Shift out of fossil fuels and into clean energy. There’s been some great progress:

  • Lloyds committed £3 billion to clean and low carbon finance, and announced that it will not finance any new coal and power plants.
  • RBS announced a phase out of project finance to all new coal power projects and thermal coalmines, and announced £10 billion for renewable energy projects in 2018-20.
  • HSBC announced that it will provide $100 billion in sustainable financing and investment by 2025, and prohibit finance to new coal power plants in most (but not all) countries.

This is all helping the movement, but the banks aren’t really moving fast enough. Significantly, HSBC is still willing to fund new coal projects in Bangladesh, Vietnam and Indonesia, three countries extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and with potential for renewable energy.

HSBC claim to be a climate leader, but simply aren’t doing their job.

As part of your Living Lent commitment, you are invited to respond to Christian Aid’s call to action, and lobby HSBC to change their investments.

HSBC must stop financing coal everywhere immediately, and come up with a plan for getting out of fossil fuels all together.

Join in with Christian Aid’s call to action, and start building a movement in your local community to increase the pressure on HSBC to stop funding coal.

Could you:

  • Now… Email HSBC.
    You will most likely get a stock response from them, but make sure you reply to push them further. Christian Aid can help with what to say. You can find a template letter to HSBC’s CEO here.

Head over to Christian Aid’s website for more information:

The Big Shift

  • Next… Get your church on board. We want to flood HSBC branches around the UK, to show how important this is to us. Find suggestions of how you can do this here.
  • Pray… for the campaign, and for the work of Christian Aid partners around the world, who are working with those feeling the effects of climate change and to make a different future a reality.

For more information:

Got more questions? Read Christian Aid’s Q&A here.

Read Christian Aid’s Big Shift briefing here.

You can download resources to help your church or group get involved here.