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Action Against Carbon Finance

Research such as the study from Carbon Tracker shows that capital markets are supporting the continued exploitation of fossil fuel reserves worldwide1. This has led to action and demands for divestment from fossil fuel projects, which is one important step towards a post-fossil fuel society.

A huge movement has arisen in the United States and is also gaining momentum in Europe. Several communities, Churches and Universities (such as Berkley2 and Stanford University3) in the United States, New Zealand and the Netherlands have already withdrawn from investments into fossil fuels.

There are many different organisations raising the issues behind capital investment that finances carbon intensive industries and thus fuels climate change. In parallel, organisations are also working on concepts to eliminate current disincentives of investment in 'environmental friendly consumption'. Below, you find some examples and inspiration from these movements. 


Tackling investments in fossil fuels - Carbon Capital

The UK based non governmental organisation Global Justice Now (formally known as World Development Movement) started a campaign to tackle carbon finance. Its 'fossil fuel web of power' provides a lot of information on how the London based finance sector is involved in climate change and how people can fight this4. Concrete steps mentioned are e.g. demanding transparency, moving money to alter the banking system etc.

Read more about Global Justice Now and its campaigns on climate and energy here.

Global Justice now (2013), "Top five banks fuelling climate change".

Go Fossil Free- a world wide movement

Many organisations and cities have already divested from fossil fuels! 

350.org started a huge movement to provide information, resources and tools to other organisations to divest from fossil fuels. Many universities, cities and churches have already joined the movement. 

Here you can find a lot of information and tools which allow you to spead this campaign, FF logoincluding pre-prepared presentations to use in your organisation, workshop materials and a campus guide for fossil fuel divestment. Moreover it provides advice in form of another guide on how to personally divestment and reinvest in positive alternatives.

An example from UK universities: "UK universities support the fossil fuel industry directly and indirectly through their research, their £5.2bn endowments and investments in fossil fuels, and their partnerships  with some of the biggest companies in the world, like BP and Shell. Students have decided to take on the fossil fuel industry by getting our universities to go Fossil Free. People & Planet -- Britain's largest student activist network -- has joined forces with 350.org and Operation Noah to bring the fossil fuel divestment campaign to UK institutions"5.

As part of the Break Free 2016 campaign, over 30,000 people across 6 continents joined together and took action against fossil fuels. Watch the video below:

In Ecuador, the YASunidos joined the global movement in May 2016 to break free from fossil fuels. See photos from Break Free Ecuador here.

Investment funds divest from fossil fuels

With rising pressure from civil society, nongovernmental organisations and institutions such as universities, several financial institutions, such as the Norwegian financial service group Storebrand and the Dutch bank Rabobank, have started to pull out of investments in fossil fuel industry.

Mainly concerned about the long-term stability of their investments, Storebrand's head of sustainable investments was quotet, stating that "[i]f global ambitions to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius become a reality, many fossil fuel resources will become unburnable and their financial value will be dramatically reduced"6 and hence their profit. Realising the future worthlessness of fossil fuel based portfolio - a notion termed as 'Carbon Bubble' by Carbon Trackers report1 - the two banks have taken action accordingly:

Rabobank decided in 2013 not to lend money any more to companies involved in shale gas or make loans to farmers who rent their land to those companies7.

In 2013, following higher standards for fossil fuels, Storebrand let go of 13 coal and six tar sands enterprises, with which a total of 177 companies and 32 countries have been excluded from the portfolio for breaching Storebrand's minimum standards for sustainable investments6. Continuing its sector-by-sector approach to reducing exposure to fossil fuels and CO2 emissions, ten more fossil fuel companies - as well as 11 palm oil companies - have been excluded by the Norwegian pension fund and insurer8.



[1]  Leaton, J. et al (2013), “Unburnable-Carbon-2013. Wasted capital and standed assests”.

[2]  UC Berkeley (s.d.), "Fossil Free UC", UC Berkley.

[3]  Ceasar, S. (2014), "Stanford University to sell off coal investments in environmental move", Los Angeles Times, 06. May 2014.

[4]  World Development Movement (2013), "Web of power. The UK government and the energy-finance complex fuelling climate change", Media Briefing. An infographic based on these informations available at: http://www.globaljustice.org.uk/fossil-fuel-web-power

[5]  Fossil Free UK (s.d.), "People & Planet", Campaign Description.

[6]  Thorpe, D. (2013), "Two more finance institutions divest from fossil fuels", Energy & Environment Management, 10.July 2013.

[7]  Dutch News (2013), "Rabobank will not finance shale gas extraction", DutchNews.nl, 01. July 2013.

[8]  blue&green tomorrow (2014), "Major pension fund Storebrand divests from a further 10 fossil fuel firms", 27.January 2014.