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Finance Drill Friday – Defunding Climate Destruction

Last Fire Drill Friday, we took action to Stop the Money Pipeline

by Mariah De Los Santos

January 13, 2020

During a momentous Fire Drill Friday, climate activists, movement leaders, and celebrities came together in Capitol Hill to call on the financial sector’s worst actors to stop funding fossil fuels and the climate disaster. 

Jane Fonda and Susan Sarandon and other activists pose in front of a Chase Bank demanding an end to fossil fuel funding in conjunction with Jane Fonda’s Fire Drill Friday rally.

Last Friday, Greenpeace and over a dozen other groups launched the Stop the Money Pipeline campaign to take on the biggest funders of the climate crisis: the financial sector. During a momentous Fire Drill Friday — the last to be hosted in DC before we bring the action to California and across the country — climate activists, movement leaders, and celebrities came together in Capitol Hill to call on the financial sector’s worst actors to stop funding fossil fuels and the climate disaster. 

The day kicked off with a lively rally at the Capitol, joined by hundreds of activists and celebrities including Jane Fonda, Joaquin Phoenix, Martin Sheen, June Diane Raphael, Amber Valletta, and Greenpeace Executive Director, Annie Leonard. Later, this flood of people who are worried about the climate crisis — people just like you and me — marched together to hold a demonstration at the steps of the Capitol building. Over 100 people were arrested, putting their bodies on the line to demand our nation’s leaders respond to the climate emergency. Meanwhile, other organizers and movement leaders including Bill McKibben, Reverend Yearwood, and activists from Extinction Rebellion, 350DC, #ShutDownDC, and Rising Tide DC, were arrested for staging a sit-in at a nearby Chase Branch.

Jane Fonda marches with some of the speaker for the 14th Fire Drill Friday.

Joaquin Phoenix talks with Capitol Police during his arrest at the 14th Fire Drill Friday.

Why are we calling out the financial sector and banks like Chase? Simply put, we can’t solve the climate crisis until we’ve stopped the money pipeline that’s funding oil, gas and coal extraction. Today, the vast majority of new fossil fuel development is only possible because of access to cheap capital. Without Wall Street, the fossil fuel industry would cease to exist. When it comes to funding climate destruction, financial institutions like JP Morgan Chase, Liberty Mutual, and BlackRock are leading the pack by pumping the most money into fossil fuels.

As the world’s top funder of fossil fuels, JPMorgan Chase has provided $196 billion in finance for extreme energy sources like coal, tar sands, and arctic drilling — that’s 10% of all fossil fuel finance from the 33 major global banks. While Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has declared his support for the Paris Agreement and his opposition to President Trump’s attempt to withdraw from the accord, the truth is, his company is the #1 bank financing the climate crisis.  

Jane Fonda, Susan Sarandon and Annie Leonard participate with other activists at a Chase Bank demanding an end to fossil fuel funding

If you care about ending fossil fuel expansion, you need to care about the banks that are financing those new projects. That’s why in the coming months, Greenpeace and other organizations will be working to make sure that anyone who wants to take action to stop the money pipeline has the resources and tools they need to take the fight to their communities and local bank branches. That’s why, starting next month, we’re bringing #FireDrillFridays back home — to Jane’s home in California, but also to all our hometowns and cities around the country. Sign up to find out how you can bring #FireDrillFriday to your community. 

Mariah De Los Santos

By Mariah De Los Santos

Mariah is the Online Content Associate at Greenpeace USA, based in Washington D.C.

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