CAMPAIGNERS from churches and organisations in Bradford visited the HSBC bank, in Market Street, today to urge the bank to stop financing climate-wrecking fossil fuels.

The seven campaigners were part of a national action by Christian Aid to visit branches across the country, calling on the global bank to ensure its activity is in keeping with the Paris Agreement’s target of keeping the global warming rise within 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial temperatures.

The campaigners delivered a letter to the branch staff to forward to HSBC CEO, John Flint,and a petition urging the bank to invest in clean energy and help protect the world and its people.

They also called on the bank to phase out financing fossil fuels altogether, and to remove Bangladesh, Vietnam and Indonesia from an exception to a bar on financing new coal-powered plants across the world.

Campaigner David Somerville said: "These are exceptional times. We’ve sat back and expected other people to tackle climate change for too long.

"Christian Aid’s Lent and Easter appeal is called Rise Up, and as the waters rise around the world we have to rise up, and speak for all those people whose livelihoods are being destroyed by climate change.

"Leading scientists and the intergovernmental panel on climate change tell us we have 12 years to stop catastrophic climate change. We have to do everything we can to make sure that those financing dirty fossil fuels are held to account.

‘HSBC has agreed to invest $100 billion in tackling climate change by 2025. This is fantastic. But it’s still investing in fossil fuels, which are fuelling climate change and destroying lives. We want HSBC to use its position as a major bank to lead the way, and close the gap between its rhetoric and its actions."

Jane Thewlis added: "The bank staff were happy to talk to us. It feels great to be part of a national movement taking action on climate with so many others. "Along with the striking school children tomorrow here in Bradford and across Europe, this is a moment in history when people are taking their power and changing the world to somewhere where everyone can live in peace, with enough to eat, clean air, clean water, and a safe home."

An HSBC spokesperson said: HSBC is committed to helping our customers make the transition to a low-carbon economy in a responsible and sustainable way.

“HSBC has stopped financing new coal-fired power in all countries around the world apart from Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam. A targeted and time-limited exception applies to these three countries until 2023 in order to appropriately balance local humanitarian needs with the need to transition to a low-carbon economy, but only if independent analysis confirms that there is no reasonable alternative to coal and any new plant complies with the highest efficiency standards.

“Since the release of the new energy policy in April 2018 until the end of 2018, HSBC financed no new coal-fired power plants.”