4 October 2022
BCP councillors have unanimously passed a motion, co-sponsored by Green Councillor Chris Rigby, to call on the Council's banking provider Barclays Bank to work to protect residents of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, by adopting climate policies that are recognised to be in keeping with the Paris Agreement.
"Financial institutes are able to influence future global heating through their policies which should align with the Paris Agreement," the motion states. The motion also recognises the "significant risk from sea level rises" to the towns of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.
Speaking as seconder of the motion, at the Full Council meeting on 12th July, Councillor Rigby said: "I think this is a fairly straightforward motion really, to ask one of our partners who we work with to come forward and meet the same commitments which we're making towards our 2030 zero-carbon targets, and our climate and ecological emergency.
"I know that our procurement processes throughout the Council are looking at working with people who are setting similar targets to us. And this should be something which is being undertaken by everyone who we're working with now and in the future.
"So this kind of motion to ask our bank to come with us on this journey, I think is brilliant."
The motion was proposed by Councillor Felicity Rice (Alliance for Local Living), who was Lead Member for Environment & Climate Change in the former Green-backed Unity Alliance administration. She said: "At a recent debate with the Poole chartered trustees, there was a concern regarding energy prices for BCP residents if Barclays are asked to move away from financing new oil and Gulf new gas and coal projects. Reassuringly, it has been shown by the World Economic Forum in July 2021, that renewable energies are now the cheapest form of energy globally. And so the reverse is true - switching away from coal towards renewables will make energy cheaper for our residents.
"Unfortunately, Barclays is Europe's second largest provider of financing to top oil and gas expanders that is new gas and oil projects. There are two main issues with this. (1) This is not needed, since renewable energy projects are able to provide reliable energy sources, and they will be pushing up energy prices for our residents.
"And (2) this is contrary to the evidence in the Paris agreement whereby carbon emissions need to reduce dramatically, and the first part of that is to stop expansion of oil and gas, let alone start to decrease existing supplies. Parts of Barclays' policies allow for global warming of four degrees. That means a sea level rise of four to 10 metres. As you can imagine, this will have significant impacts on whether we have a beach any more, how much of our cliff is eroded, and how much of Poole Bournemouth and Christchurch is below the annual flood level, and the severe impacts on residents as a result.
We put roughly £700-£800 million pounds through Barclays Bank per year, in providing all of our services as BCP Council. We would like to ensure that this is being used to protect our residents, not cause flooding in the years to come. Therefore, we call on Barclays to work to protect inhabitants of Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch, by adopting climate policies are acknowledged to be in keeping with the Paris Agreement."
Councillor Mike Greene, Conservative Portfolio Holder for Sustainability & Transport, spoke in favour of the motion: "The council has declared a climate and ecological emergency and I think it'd be quite inconsistent if we did not expect our partners to produce policies which are in line with the Paris Agreement accordingly.
"Particularly with them being our partner, I feel it's right - in fact, I think it's probably our duty - that we explain to them that this is what we expect.
"I will be supporting it. And I very much hope that everybody else will do so."
Poole People Councillor Andy Hadley followed on: "I'm very pleased, actually, that the portfolio holder supports this, because I think it's really important for our 2050 targets about the wider BCP area. [...]
"Of course, Barclays and particularly their international operation, which is still in BCP, although it's moved out of Barclays House, has a very wide reach in terms of the impact globally. And the opportunity they have with customers like us stepping forward and saying we really are serious about this, not least because of the impacts on our own residents in this area... So I'm very pleased with this."
BCP Council has declared a climate and ecological emergency.
The towns of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole are at significant risk from sea level rise caused by global heating.
Financial institutes are able to influence future global heating through their policies which should align with the Paris Agreement.
We call on Barclays, as our banking provider and partner, to work to protect the inhabitants of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole by adopting climate policies that are acknowledged to be in keeping with the Paris Agreement.