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WDM campaigners with MP Greg Barker, centre.

Barker lobbied to stop banks’ coal funding

Following on from their campaign outside HSBC bank last October, local campaigners from the World Development Movement met with Bexhill and Battle MP Greg Barker last week to ask him to push for new rules to stop UK banks pouring billions of pounds into the global coal industry. Greg Barker is a minister of state at the Department of Energy & Climate Change. Christina Lucey reports the encounter.

In November the UK government announced it would stop using UK aid money for coal projects overseas. But the money going into coal from UK banks is at least 27 times what the government spent.

The UK’s five biggest banks have invested £12 billion in coal mining around the world since 2005. Of all fossil fuels, coal has the most damaging effect on the climate.

The campaigners from the Bexhill and Hastings World Development Movement group also highlighted the devastating effects of coal on people living where it is mined. UK banks are financing a coal boom in Indonesian Borneo, which is destroying the forests and rivers indigenous people rely on. In Colombia, whole villages have been wiped off the map by the massive Cerrejón coal mine, also financed by UK banks.

Denis Lucey, from the Bexhill and Hastings World Development Movement group, said “Coal is a disaster for the climate and for local communities. It’s great that the government is stopping aid money going to coal – but unless our banks pull out of coal, UK money will carry on financing these man-made disasters across the world. We need government regulation to make the banks change their ways.”

Greg listened to our various points patiently but was not prepared to comment on the investment issue or the ethics of the whole affair. Instead he voiced his concern for helping reduce carbon emissions in the developing world. To that end he will be visiting Africa and India in the near future. He commended us on the good work we are doing and urged us to keep up the campaigning.

In October 2013 local members of the World Development Movement gathered outside HSBC in Devonshire Road, Bexhill, in a protest against the bank’s funding for fossil fuels.

 

For more information please contact Denis on 01424 845225 or visit www.wdm.org.uk or the Bexhill and Hastings WDM website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted 21:59 Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 In: Campaigns

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