'Our banks continue to invest in coal, oil and gas'

Protest against Standard Charter

Protest at Aldersgate on Wednesday, May 6 against Standard Charter's investment in fossil fuels - Credit: D J Hackman

While amazing local election results see Barnet (does this bode better for opposition to the new Edmonton Incinerator?), Westminster and Wandsworth all going to Labour; our fossil fuel giants Shell and BP make massive profits on the back of punishing hikes in power bills for ordinary folk and our banks continue to invest in coal, oil and gas.

On Wednesday Standard Chartered held its AGM in Aldersgate - to a disruptive shouted shareholder chorus of “Standard Chartered please just stop it, life on earth before your profit”. There is an attempt to greenwash their activities with £300 million donated to projects, but this is in contrast to the £40 billion they have invested in fossil fuels since the Paris Agreement, making those targets impossible to deliver.

Standard Chartered are the third worst bank in the UK, after Barclays and HSBC, for fossil fuel investment, which is particularly unjust in the global south where communities who have not benefited from the mining that destroys their environment, now suffer the most from the climate emergency, rising sea levels and bushfires.

Camden resident Dorothea Hackman wrote a letter to the NLWA requesting a judicial review into the Edmonton Incinerator

Dorothea Hackman protested against Standard Charter's investing in fossil fuels - Credit: Archant

And families on the cusp of destitution desperately trying to meet increasing power bills are forced by the continuing austerity measures of central government to turn to charities like foodbanks.

Euston Foodbank, which provides over 85% of emergency food parcels in Camden will be moving next month from Lancing Street into much larger premises in Phoenix Road, the better to meet the increasing need for support.

There has been a 13% increase in demand since last year's trebling under lockdown, and more of those are children - up 52% on the previous year, 82% since 2019/2020. Low income is still the main reason for 24,587 people needing to come to Euston Foodbank.

The Trussell Trust published annual statistics showing more than two million emergency food parcels distributed nationally, appalling circumstances in a rich nation, demonstrating the inequality of resource distribution with the rich keeping their profits and impact of no climate justice.

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Further, the government has passed a tranche of legislation that make us more of a police state than the regimes we criticise: eg the Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill comes into force on May 12, criminalising people who live in vehicles and undermining peaceful protest further.

Locally, High Speed 2, not content with eradicating the Adelaide Road Woodland, has started cutting the trees in the Camden Nature Reserve alongside. Profit before community. They find it so much easier and cheaper to fell our mature trees and to renege on promises to remove spoil by rail instead of yet more lorries on Camden’s congested streets. They are currently seeking a 140 mile injunction against everyone!

Dorothea Hackman is head of Camden Civic Society.