'Carbon Bubbles' visiting Bank of England


November 20, 2013

‘Carbon bubbles’ visit Bank of England to warn of financial crisis

LONDON, England — The Bank of England was visited today by five human ‘Carbon Bubbles’ to warn of the huge financial risk posed by the ‘Carbon Bubble’. The message being delivered is that failure to divest from fossil fuels could see the biggest financial crisis the world has ever seen.

The bubbles, members of 350.org’s ‘Fossil Free’ campaign on fossil fuel divestment [1], are calling for the Financial Policy Committee (FPC), meeting at The Bank of England, to investigate the financial impact of over valuation of oil and gas reserves.

The group wants to see divestment from fossil fuels across the pension and investment community due to overvaluation of assets as highlighted by a recent report entitled ‘Un-burnable Carbon,’ from the UK-based Carbon Tracker Initiative [2].

Susie Wheeldon, a spokesperson from the group said:

“We are on the brink of the world’s largest ever financial crisis and it’s time to wake up. We simply can’t go through this again. The UK Pensions Minister, asset managers, investors and banks have expressed their concern about stranded carbon assets but there is no mandate in place to demand the fossil fuel industry disclose the emissions potential of their reserves. Pension, investment funds and institutions are pulling their money from fossil fuels faster than any other divestment action we’ve seen. We simply can’t afford to waste time.”

“It is the responsibility of the FPC to protect the UK financial system and every person in this country, from the impending carbon bubble”, said Charlotte Webster, a member of the group, “Following the financial crash, the UK taxpayer bailed out the banks with £123.93 billion; there were 3.7 million job losses in 2009 alone. The Regulator did not see it coming. This time, they have no excuse. They need to make it mandatory for fossil fuel companies to report the emissions potential of their reserves.”

Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Proven coal, oil, and gas reserves equal around 2,795 gigatons of CO2 – five times more than it is possible to burn if we are to avoid dangerous – and costly – anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

Last month, the co-founder of 350.org, Bill McKibben, visited London warning asset managers, investors and pension funds about the ‘carbon bubble’ and urging them to divest from fossil fuels.

350.org launched the divestment campaign last autumn and the movement has already spread to over 300 colleges and universities and 100 cities and states in the United States, Australia, and Canada. Over 15 cities, six colleges, and numerous religious institutions, have already committed to dump their fossil fuel holdings.

Most recently 70 global investors, managing over $3 trillion of assets, have demanded the oil, gas and coal companies asses the risks that climate change poses to their business plans.

In the UK, ‘Operation Noah’ is calling for fossil free churches with it’s campaign Bright Now, whilst the London insurance industry think tank, ClimateWise, has urged asset managers to review fossil fuel investments due to the risks they pose directly, as well as to their insurance portfolios.



Susie Wheeldon

00 44 7903 701343



[1] Additional information on 350.org ‘Fossil Free’ divestment campaign can be found here: https://gofossilfree.org/

[2] Carbon Tracker Initiative Un-burnable Carbon 2013 report: http://www.carbontracker.org/wastedcapital

[3] More pictures at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/350org/sets/72157637871712445/