The gist of the interview is a call to the financial industry to get its act together and make a plan to back out of fossil fuels, and start moving. Why? Not simply because of needing to have an impact for the climate. They need to because in a few years shares in fossil fuels will be worth little.
At the moment, governments are subsidising the oil industry in a number of direct and indirect ways. The financial industry also does, through loans for more new projects. The financial industry is – our banks, our savings, our shares, our pensions – they are all wrapped up in it, and will all be affected in the years ahead.
Fossil fuels and their use are by far the largest source of CO2, like 87%. So this has to be the main focus.
So I began to wonder what I can do, personally. It seems like this could have more impact than a lot of other things I do, and I started doing some research. It helps to be aware of which banks are most involved. And also to look at what are your alternatives. (Building Societies are a useful UK alternative, because they focus on housing.)
How can I make sure my money supports the things that matter most, and more importantly doesn’t support what is downright negative? The big concern used to be tobacco and armaments, now it’s carbon fuels too.
These are only links to get you started, you’ll have your own constraints and can investigate as needed. I bank with a major UK building society that has positive environmental policies, and am happy to stay with them for now. I’ve just set up a share ISA with Triodos Bank, to see how that goes. They are international and have a base in Bristol. I like their investment policies, and the fees are okay. They have also been very helpful with my many questions! Other companies may suit your needs better.
It seems to me that shares and pensions are difficult to change for most people. But almost everyone has a current account, and maybe cash savings, and they are the easiest to move around. And for energy use, look for a supplier that uses renewables.
So have a think about whether this is a change you can make. For the climate, but also for your own financial security.
References to start your research…
- Bank of England chief Mark Carney issues climate change warning – video
- CBC news item with commentary – video
- Main sources of carbon dioxide emissions
- Fossil Fuel Subsidies: A Closer Look at Tax Breaks and Societal Costs
- Christian Aid: The Big Shift campaign
- Divest your Bank and Energy supplier
- Best Ethical Banks