Protesters demand London banks stop funding fossil fuels

Young activists take part in the Youth Strike to Defund Climate Chaos protest against the funding of fossil fuels outside Standard Chartered Bank in London. Picture date: Friday October 29, 2021.

Protesters have taken to London’s streets to lobby against the funding of fossil fuels.

Activists chanted “Ensure our future, not pollution” as they made their way from Lloyd’s of London to Macquarie Capital.

They want the banks stop their support of fossil fuels and the building and maintenance of the Silvertown Tunnel under the Thames in east London.

The Day of Action is expected to be addressed by teenage activist Greta Thunberg outside Standard Chartered on Friday afternoon.

She is one of thousands of activists attending protests across 26 countries.

The COP26 climate conference - what you need to know

What is COP26? When and where will it be?

Each year, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meets at what is called the Conference of the Parties (abbreviated as COP) to discuss the world's progress on climate change and how to tackle it.

COP26 is the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties summit which will be held in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November.

Who is going?

Leaders of the 197 countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – a treaty that came into force in 1994 - are invited to the summit.

These are some of the world leaders that will be attending COP26:

  • US President Joe Biden, climate envoy John Kerry, climate adviser and former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, and 10 other US cabinet officials.

  • Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison. In the days leading up to COP26, Mr Morrison committed Australia to a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Prince Charles, Prince William, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge are also attending. The Queen has withdrawn from visiting after being advised by her doctors to rest - she will address the conference virtually instead.

China's President Xi Jinping, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, and President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil are among the leaders that have decided not to travel to Glasgow.

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What is it hoping to achieve?

1. Achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels - Countries are being encouraged to set ambitious 2030 emissions targets. They are also encouraged to accelerate the phase-out of coal, clamp down on deforestation, speed up the switch to electric vehicles and encourage investment in renewables.

2. Protect natural habitats and communities from climate change disasters

3. Finances for a greener future - In 2009, developed countries were asked to keep to their promises to contribute at least $100 billion (£72.5 billion) per year by 2020 to protect the planet. In 2015, it was agreed that the goal would be extended to 2025.

However, new analysis shows the goal is unlikely to have been met last year and is on track to fall short in 2021 and 2022.

4. Getting all countries and organisations to work together to tackle the climate crisis

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Others include Greenwich teacher Kevin Wright, who spoke about the Silvertown Tunnel, saying: “We cannot afford it environmentally or financially. There are no grounds that makes it good.

“It will draw large traffic into the most densely populated parts of the UK.

“All I see I self-interest in this tunnel, all I see is harm, but to some it’s big money and to (London mayor Sadiq) Khan it probably is his pension.”

Young activists take part in the Youth Strike to Defund Climate Chaos protest

As the activists made their way through London’s streets, they were escorted by City of London Police officers.

A band played Power To The People as the march made its way from Lime Street to Ropemaker Street.

Five women dressed as banshees and holding cymbals were outside Macquarie Capital, wailing and lying on the ground clutching white roses.

Around 70 campaigners were in at the morning’s protests, with numbers growing at each site.

The protests come days before world leaders meet in Glasgow on Monday for the Cop26 summit, where they will discuss how to tackle climate change.

In 2015, countries signed the Paris agreement to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5C and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

The International Energy Agency says there can be no further exploration of oil and gas after this year.