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Greenpeace shut down Cardiff Barclays branches to protest climate change

More than ninety-five Barclays locations in the UK were shut down by Greenpeace activists on Monday, including three in Cardiff. How do people here feel about this?

The distribution of the Barclays shutdown in the UK.
Photo credit: Greenpeace

The entrance of Barclays in Cardiff city centre was blocked by activists from Greenpeace on Monday in protest of Barclay’s support for fossil fuels.

This event was part of a 95-branch-wide campaign across the UK. A trailer was parked in front of the doors and a large poster read: “Stop funding the climate emergency.”

Morten Thaysen, climate finance campaigner at Greenpeace UK said: “Barclays must stop funding the climate emergency, that’s why we’ve taken action in Cardiff and across the country today. From floods in Cardiff and the rest of Wales to bushfires across the globe and record heat in Antarctica, the impacts of this crisis are staring us in the face.

“Yet Barclays keeps pumping billions into fossil fuel companies at exactly the time we need to stop backing these polluting businesses.”

Greenpeace activists preparing for the campaign outside Barclays in Cardiff city centre.
Photo credit: Greenpeace

They also claimed that Barclays is the biggest funder of fossil fuels among banks in Europe, backing polluters to the tune of $85 billion (£65 billion) between 2016 and 2018.

“As a Barclays customer, I am very keen to see them move away from investing in fossil fuels. If they don’t, I’ll look at moving my accounts to more environmentally friendly banks,” said Cardiff resident Deirdre Johnston.

However, other residents have expressed that while trying to tackle climate change is great, the manner in which Greenpeace have gone about it has only contributed to it, if anything. When asked whether he would change banks, Spike Chapman, who has banked with Barclays for 21 years, said: “I don’t think I would change any bank based on the actions of Greenpeace as I don’t condone criminal actions.”

When faced with doubt from the public about their actions, Greenpeace explain that they have already tried meetings, polite emails, petitions, shareholder resolutions and protesting outside head offices. They claim that Barclays have ignored all of it and carried on as before. Greenpeace say that they wish Barclays would listen to the evidence and do the right thing as it would save everyone so much trouble. But when there’s so much at stake, they don’t think it would be right to just give up and let them carry on.

The slogan was put on the trailer in front of Barclays’ front doors.
Photo credit: Greenpeace

Harry Hayfield, who lives in the Welsh countryside, said: “I am not a Barclays customer, but wanted to point out that due to the number of towns in Wales where there is only one bank, such activities could backfire.

“But it is entirely understandable. The climate has changed and therefore businesses should be doing everything they can to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, not just offsetting it.”

The day after these events unfolded, Barclays resumed business as usual. At present, Barclays haven’t request our comment but they said to BBC that they are concerning about climate change and will pay more attention to low carbon economy.