‘This Bank is Dirtier than Ever!’ Extinction Rebellion disrupts Lloyds’ AGM over Shocking Increase in Funding for Fossil Fuel Madness
A national wave of disruptive Extinction Rebellion actions against the dirty banks funding the accelerating climate crisis gathered further momentum as the Annual General Meeting of Lloyds Banking Group in Glasgow was disrupted by protestors today (Thursday).
At 11am this morning, the bank – which increased fossil fuel funding by $500 million in 2022 compared to 2021  – joined HSBC and Barclays in becoming the target of a growing climate protection campaign.
A group from Extinction Rebellion and sister movement Money Rebellion infiltrated the AGM of Lloyds Banking Group at the Armadillo in Glasgow – ironically the host of the COP26 climate conference.
Four protesters repeatedly interrupted chairman Robin Budenberg as soon as he took to this feet to make his opening speech. As soon as the first one was removed by security, a second one stood up to intervene. In a series of speeches they demanded that the bank and Bundenberg lead the UK’s financial services industry out of fossil fuel funding immediately, completely and for good.
One of the protesters, Max Millar, 63, retired from Roslin near Edinburgh, said: “Lloyd’s black horse continues to drip with oil, despite soothingly reassuring advertisements of stallions galloping through green valleys and over beaches.
“In 2022, Lloyds did what few other global banks did and increased its financial support to the brutally destructive fossil fuel industry by $500 million. This at a time of climate crisis when even the UN Secretary General calls investing in new fossil fuels infrastructure ‘moral and economic madness’
“That is why, today, we called upon Lloyds Banking Group to follow the world-leading example set in 2021 by French bank La Banque Postale by renouncing the funding of fossil fuels altogether, committing to exit the entire fossil fuel value chain unconditionally by 2025.
“There are multiple large institutions that would flock to a major UK bank that is fully fossil free and so we implore Lloyds to take the final step and set an example of real leadership to the UK’s major commercial institutions.”
Fellow protestor William Hunter, 65 and also retired, from Bathgate in central Scotland, said: “I find it deeply ironic that Lloyds’ is still financing the climate-wrecking fossil fuel industry while its core business is retail banking and mortgage lending. Extreme weather events caused by climate change are on a clear pathway to causing ever more damage to the health and wellbeing of millions of Lloyds’ customers.”
In the face of rising disgust at the horrifying role of the financial services sector in funding the climate crisis, Lloyds have been attempting to portray themselves as banking industry ‘good guys.’
Last year, the bank stopped funding the thermal coal sector altogether and committed to not funding new oil and gas fields . Lloyds have also trumpeted the fact that they have only poured £15bn of funding into the fossil fuel sector since the 2015 Paris Agreement supporting major global companies such as BP, Shell and RWE, just one tenth of what HSBC or Barclays have provided over the same period.
But beneath the greenwash, Lloyds are still able to fund a multitude of oil and gas projects that kicked off before 2022 and provide general corporate funding to many companies in the fossil fuel supply chain.
As a result, critics say that its membership of the much-vaunted Net Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA) is a public relations fig leaf to justify inaction and delay which will deliver reforms too late to stop the financial services industry effectively bankrolling a future of climate collapse-fuelled famines, extreme weather and war.
Andrew Taylor from Money Rebellion said: “We are deeply disappointed but not surprised that Lloyds has increased its funding for the fossil fuel industry in 2022. This toxic finance destroys the health and livelihoods of some of the poorest communities in the world and is fuelling climate chaos. We thought Lloyds was close to exiting the fossil fuel sector altogether, but we were sadly mistaken, as profit trumped planet once again. We implore Lloyds to lead the UK’s major banks away from this devastating industry by unconditionally ending all forms of financial support to fossil fuel providers and enablers of any kind.”
Today’s action in Glasgow is the latest in a series of Extinction Rebellion protests targeting banking and corporate planet-wreckers over the past two weeks. They come after the movement vowed to escalate its campaigns at the Big One, an unprecedented protest involving over 200 climate and social justice groups that drew 100,000 protestors to Parliament in April.
BP, Drax, Barclays and HSBC were among those who saw their AGMs severely disrupted by protestors using tactics including a choir singing adapted versions of Spice Girls hits and Shakespearean drama. Protest groups involved included Extinction Rebellion, Money Rebellion, Fossil Free London, and the Stop Burning Trees coalition.
Claude Fourcroy from Money Rebellion, said: “The Lloyds action signals we will simply no longer allow the banking industry to quietly meet behind closed doors to agree to provide the money to destroy our world and our futures.
“We will continue escalating actions against the banks until they stop funding the fossil fuel sector entirely and for good.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
 Rainforest Action Network, Banking On Climate Chaos, 2023 https://www.bankingonclimatechaos.org/
 Lloyds pledge to stop direct funding of fossil fuel projects https://theenergyst.com/lloyds-is-uks-first-bank-to-shun-fossil-fuels/
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