The Big Shift: Climate Change and The Banks

Christian Aid has been involved with action on climate change for over ten years. Climate change is happening right now, devastating the lives of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities.

Burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas produces carbon pollution. This in turn fuels climate change, threatening the lives of our sisters and brothers around the world and putting all our futures at risk. We need to move away from out-dated fossil fuels and focus instead on the clean, renewable energy of the future.

What does this have to do with the banks?

It’s all about money. We depend on the banks to look after our money, but are they using it to look after the earth, our common home? If we’re going to build a better world and prevent irreversible damage to God’s abundant creation, we need to make the big shift away from fossil fuels and into clean energy. But the banks are still using our money to finance the extraction and burning of fossil fuels.

All of the big banks agree that stronger action for climate change is needed. But right now, they invest much more money into fossil fuels than in powering the rise of the clean energy that we all need for the future of our planet. 

Our economy has been based on fossil fuels for over 100 years, so it’s not as easy as simply changing all of their loans and investments overnight. But the banks don’t even have a clear plan or commitment as to how to change this current balance and scale up investments in renewables.

What’s the solution?  

Christian Aid is asking HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds and RBS to step up.

  • They must publish a transition plan for their organisation in order to meet the commitments of the Paris Agreement.  
  • They must stop financing coal power plants. The UK government has already promised to phase out coal by 2025 – banks must follow suit.   
  • They must publish the carbon emissions resulting from their investments and loans.

What can we do?

Christian Aid has prepared a letter for the CEO of each of these banks. But to create more intrigue and impact, we’re going to deliver it via our local branches.

We want everyone in church to get involved because we all care for our world. On 23rd and 30th August, a giant pig called Prudence will visit All Saints. Don’t worry – she’s only a wallchart! We’ll write on Prudence all the ways we’ve acted to protect the earth. She’s already visited St Andrew’s Psalter Lane, Banner Cross Methodists, and St Gabriel’s Greystones, so we’ll have a big investment in God’s creation to display.

Then on Friday 4th August, a small group of us will take Prudence and our letters to Barclays and Lloyds banks on Ecclesall Road. We’ll have a photo opportunity to draw attention to the campaign outside on the street. But in the bank, we have a very simple ask, that the staff just pass our letters onto the CEO. It’s quite unusual for people to interact with the banks this way, so we hope they’ll take notice.

Find out more at and I’ll keep you posted with how the campaign goes.

Jo Chamberlain