top of page
  • Hannah Duncan

Is Barclays run by psychopaths?

Since the Paris Agreement in December 2015, Barclays Bank has gone on to funnel more than $164 billion into fossil fuel expansion. $164 BILLION. Umm… WTF?!


It’s the largest amount from any UK bank and the seventh worst in the entire world. What’s more, this figure does not include the bank’s colossal fossil fuel financing during 2022. Worryingly, Barclays is showing no sign of stopping. On the contrary, in 2021, the bank’s shareholders rejected proposals to phase out fossil fuel financing.

newspaper article showing barclays reject fossil fuel phase-out

Destroying the planet for money 🔥🤑


Yep. A group of wealthy, educated, and privileged people were given the choice to stop destroying the planet… and they voted AGAINST it. Shareholders voted to continue destroying the planet at pace. OUR PLANET. They consciously chose to ramp-up the climate crisis, so that they could get more money for themselves. Selfish, much? And they really went for it. That same year Barclays worked with a handful other banks to dish out $6 billion to Shell in May, $10 billion to Exxon Mobil in August, $2.4 billion to BP in September and another $1.5 billion to Shell in November.


They are unstoppably addicted to fossil fuel financing.

The board and all the leadership are surely aware that this money will be used to drill for oil. If you’d like to learn more about who these people are, you can find their names, faces and titles here. As you scroll through, remember that these decision-makers are earning hundreds of thousands of pounds already. Chairman Nigel Higgins reportedly brought home £808,000 in 2021 just from his job at Barclays. I’m pretty sure that they can pay the rent.


Meanwhile, in the summer of 2022, 15 million Pakistanis were forced into poverty because of unprecedented flooding. The rain, which beat down for forty days and forty nights, left large parts of the country underwater and killed 1.1 million livestock. Also in the summer of 2022, more than 15,000 people died specifically due to the extreme heat caused by the climate crisis, according to the WHO. Or – let me rephrase that – more than 15,000 people perished due to the extreme heat caused by fossil fuel companies and the banks who give them money.

floods in Pakistan


What kind of person would want money soaked in blood? 😳


Everyone likes a bit of cash. But would you want a tenner if you knew it had caused someone to die? Probably not, right? Probably the thought of even touching that money would bring a bitter glug of vomit to your mouth. How about £100? £100,000? Would you really be able to enjoy the money if it came from ecocide and genocide? 15,000 deaths is a lot. Could you spend that money happily knowing that it would cause your children and grandchildren a lifetime of climate destruction? I bet you couldn’t. I’m sure, that like 96% of the population, you would rather have nothing to do with it.

But there are 4% who would take the money without feeling any twang of conscience at all. They could sleep easily, and even enjoy the misery they cause. According to Dr Martha Stout, this minority are psychopaths.


If you’re ever wondering if someone is a psycho, there are seven signs to look out for.


Psychopaths:

  • Go against the norm

  • Disregard or violate the rights of others

  • Cannot distinguish between right and wrong

  • Show ZERO remorse or empathy for their actions

  • Manipulate the truth ... also known as greenwashing...

  • Believe that rules should not apply to them[1].


These are morally reprehensive people. All they care about is money or power for themselves. At any cost. Even at the cost of the planet. 🌍🌍🌍


… Now who does that sound like? 🤔

blood money, pound note with red overlay
Only a psycho would feel comfortable receiving blood money

Someone needs to stop Barclays Bank 😨😨😨


If banks like Barclays are not stopped, they will destroy the entire planet and every living thing on it. At the time of writing, the bank is paying for the German village of Lützerath to be bulldozed down, to expand a dirty coal mine. This is psychopathic behaviour. It's completely immoral.


Local police are manhandling peaceful protestors while Barclays, Santander and HSBC quietly keep footing the bill. Lützerath will be the thirteenth village to be swallowed by the lignite mine. Churches, homes and centuries-old communities are reduced to rubble.

police manhandling protestors, banks bulldozing a village

The bank is also a notorious investor in single-use plastic. While the rest of us frantically try to find alternatives and cut back use, this bank is financing production. In 2020 alone, Barclays lent more than $3 billion to single-use plastic producers. Meanwhile, 1 million sea birds and 100,000 marine animals die from plastic pollution each year. 88% of the sea’s surface is polluted by plastic. And 1 million plastic bags are thrown into landfill every MINUTE[2].

graph showing that Barclays bank gives $3 billion to plastic producers

Source: Guardian


That someone could be you 🙏


Obviously, not everyone working at Barclays is a psychopath. Of course not. My grandmother worked at Barclays and she was the kindest person in the world to me. But it’s fair to say that right now the bank is acting like a deranged psycho. It needs to stop.


Barclays is pouring money into our own collective suicide and mass extinction at an unstoppable rate. It’s taking savings belonging to ordinary people and using it to massively empower fossil fuel conglomerates. A handful of people at this bank are making planet-ending decisions, that will destroy all of us.


So, what can you do?


If you are one of the people working at Barclays, you can open your eyes to what’s really going on. I have been in this situation myself, I worked for BNP Paribas, and I unwittingly helped the bank greenwash for nine months. Coming to terms with that was difficult. But as they say in the AA, acceptance is the first step on the road to recovery.


So probably, the first (and potentially very painful) thing you can do is to read the reports for yourself. I recommend starting with this one: Banking on climate chaos


Once you have independent research, you can make informed choices about your next move. It’s really hard to stand against the status quo in finance. Believe me, I also know that first-hand. But if you can challenge the problem from the inside, you will be helping the world more than you could possibly imagine. Even just diverting just 0.5% of funds, can amount to millions, so please try. If you would ever like to talk to me anonymously about how to phrase an email or letter confronting the issue, just reach out.


For the rest of us, we must use our loudest voices to show that this behaviour is NOT acceptable. For myself, my loudest voice is my blog. For you, it might mean switching your bank account. For someone else, it could mean lobbying the bank over the phone or with social media. Do your most powerful thing! Even if you just reach one person, you are making a difference. After all, everyone needs to fight for the future of the planet. We all need to pull our weight.


You can find suggestions and organised protests against Barclays on the Sharklays website.


In the UK, we're lucky in that we can march to Barclays' head office in Canary Wharf. Or make a stand at our local branches (I even saw one organised in Carmarthen!). Millions of desperate people around the world are suffering from the effects of the climate crisis and cannot do this. We have to be their voice. 💪


Together, we can stop a small handful of people from destroying our entire planet.

the planet earth from space

[1] Source: Healthline [2] Source: Condor Ferries


Note:


This blog is my personal opinion. I have written it to balance out some of the claims that Barclays Bank makes on its website. For example:


"Our climate strategy means we are rapidly expanding our green and sustainable financing activities, whilst reducing our financed emissions, focusing on the highest-emitting sectors first, including Energy (coal, oil and gas) and Power".


As long as Barclays continue to finance projects which directly contribute to the climate crisis, members of the public must call it out. This is fair game. Corporations cannot promote themselves as "addressing climate change" when they are clearly worsening it. It's greenwashing.

192 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page