A growing army of activists has drawn attention to the role of finance in the climate crisis over the past two years.
Hidden from the spotlight, finance is the silent catalyst for the ostentatious destruction of the big polluters.
It is only through banks, investors and insurers - providing them with credit, support and cover - that fossil fuel companies can continue to wreak havoc on the environment.
As for the banks, they offer the loans that allow companies like Shell and ExxonMobil to continue to expand their activities.
This allows them to build new coal mines and drill new oil wells, even though this is inconsistent with the net zero recommendations of the IEA - a conservative industry body that is widely believed to be on the side of the energy companies - states that this is the case. And so all of this created an unlikely new target for activists: central banks.
Greenpeace paragliders landing at the headquarters of the European Central Bank, to Extinction Rebellion spraying fake oil on the Bank of England, to Koala Kollektiv organizing a best climate killer ceremony in front of the Bundesbank, these institutions - and the central bankers who run them - are doing subject to more than meticulous scrutiny.
So why are central bankers under fire? In short, it's because they set the rules for the banks. They have the power to introduce new regulations to penalize fossil fuel lending from banks.
In addition, they could encourage this money to go towards new green technologies, projects and jobs. The problem is, so far they haven't, and that's why activists are raising the heat, making sure they are held accountable for these short-sighted and irresponsible decisions.
Central bank governors are making decisions with huge implications for both the climate and the economy.
This argument may seem unusual. It's easy to think of central banks as apolitical, dealing with obscure financial woes that have little to do with everyday life.
But that couldn't be further from the truth: Central bank governors are making decisions with huge implications, both for the climate and for the economy.
That is why it is essential that we reaffirm the responsibility of these organizations to the interests of ordinary people rather than those of the financial sector.
The good news is that there have been developments in favor of activist organizations. In an important victory for climate activists, in March of this year the Bank of England actually got a new mandate that requires it to support the government's net zero goal and environmental sustainability.
There are still tensions here, as the Bank also has a mandate to ensure economic growth - which could serve as an excuse to resist the banks' desperately needed fossil fuel financing regulations.
This is why it is so important to keep the pressure on at this time so that we push the Bank of England to introduce the rules and incentives necessary to make our economies sustainable and secure.
As the UN climate talks at COP26 approach next month, activist groups are rallying to make their voices heard in the world's major financial districts.
There will be a global day of action on Friday, October 29, 2021, where we will call on banks, asset managers and insurers to stop funding climate chaos. There are actions underway across the UK and the world. Everyone get involved here .
Thousands of us are also asking the government to fund a just and green transition. We demand that they work with the Bank of England to end fossil fuel lending and encourage investment in new green and job-creating projects.
- Mrs. Rachel Oliver
- Positive Money - non-profit research and campaign organization aimed at ensuring that the monetary system supports a fair, democratic and sustainable economy.