Bank of England Urged to End Virus Funding for Carbon Emitters


Climate activist group Extinction Rebellion called on the Bank of England to stop providing emergency funding to companies that contribute to climate change.

The U.K. central bank should require companies that have received more than 18 billion pounds ($22.7 billion) of aid in recent months to commit to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2025, according to a statement from the group. Protesters gathered outside the bank on Friday holding a banner that read “No Dirty Bailouts.”

The Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility is intended to help the biggest companies in the U.K. weather the coronavirus pandemic by bolstering their liquidity. Under the program, the BOE purchases firms’ commercial paper with a maturity of as much as a year.

Recipients of the aid include German chemicals giant BASF SE, a unit of U.S. oil services company Baker Hughes, Roundup weedkiller producer Bayer AG and EasyJet Plc.

“The Bank of England is bailing out fossil-fueled airlines, pesticide companies and car corporations when they need to be bailing out workers to work in the new green economy,” Extinction Rebellion spokesperson Donnachadh McCarthy said in a statement.

A Bank of England spokeswoman declined to comment on the protest.

Extinction Rebellion previously targeted the Bank of England last October, when hundreds of activists blocked roads around the bank, criticizing the financial sector for funding fossil fuels.

The group earlier this week called on Barclays Plc Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley to recognize the lender’s historic role in the slave trade and do more on climate change.

The central bank has been vocal about climate change, with former Governor Mark Carney saying firms must do more to tackle threats on the environment.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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