Reclaim Finance wishes you a happy new year and all the best for 2021!
2020 has been a year of major upheavals, with the covid-19 crisis and its obvious health, social and economic consequences, but also with prominent social movements like Black Lives Matter which, in the wake of the gilets jaunes movement, demonstrated the urgent need to address questions of social and economic justice in managing the ecological transition.
2020 therefore demonstrated the urgency of acting to support the development of more just and sustainable societies, societies characterized by solidarity.
Unfortunately, the long-awaited leap has yet to come. On the contrary, recovery plans deployed at the international level tend to reinforce outdated models based on the overexploitation of natural resources and reliance on fossil fuels.
Of course, that doesn’t mean we should throw the baby out with the bathwater. Some measures have been accompanied by green conditionalities, some companies decided not to pay out dividends in 2020 to dedicate their profits to urgent needs, the first ever shareholder resolution on climate was put down at Total’s AGM, and numerous financial actors committed to becoming carbon-neutral by 2050 without delaying the adoption of stronger measures on coal now. Not so bad, some might say.
Except that tinkering at the margins has never been enough and now is the time to heed this lesson. Covid-19 exposed the fragility of our societies, societies whose longevity can only be assured with a deep step-change in our modes of production and consumption.
Faced with this reality, Reclaim Finance is committed to amplifying its efforts to make 2021 the year 2020 should have been, a year of struggle for social and climate justice, against climate change and for the preservation of biodiversity.
The point of pride of this year will be COP26 which will take place in November in Glasgow. With governments obliged to announce new commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we are calling on financial actors to adopt a zero-tolerance stance towards the development of new hydrocarbon projects, starting with the riskiest projects, and the companies undertaking them.
We can no longer afford to give free rein to oil and gas majors like Total, Shell and BP which make commitments to long-term objectives while continuing to invest in the expansion of fossil fuels.
The exit from coal must be accelerated and transformed into an opportunity to support the arrival of a simpler energy system founded on renewable energies. The replacement of coal by equally polluting and destructive energy options, based on gas or biomass, must be avoided at all costs.
But this year must also be the year of biodiversity, with several international events dedicated to this subject. Because the struggle against deforestation lies at the intersection of the struggle against global warming and the mass disappearance of biodiversity, French financial actors must adopt sectoral policies without delay, endowed with specific measures adapted to each supply chain. Amongst the priorities, preventing deforestation linked to the production of soya in the Cerrado in Brazil.
The solutions exist. It is up to financial and political actors to seize them and put them into action. We will not be satisfied with hollow promises, or commitments kicking the can down the road. 2021 has already begun.