15. February 2021

Open letter to the ECB – 20 NGOs demand action

In an open letter, the KoalaKollektiv demands a clear change of course from the ECB regarding the climate crisis in order to comply with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. 20 NGOs as well as numerous prominent individuals support this appeal.

Dear Ms Lagarde,

Honourable Members of the Governing Council,

The climate crisis is unfolding at an alarming speed. Droughts, floods, and forest fires are increasing worldwide. In the Global South in particular, people are already suffering greatly from its effects.

The consequences of the climate crisis are already being felt here in Europe as well. Hot summers, drying up forests and an increasing number of floods are only a foretaste of what is to come if we do not act now.

We can see from numerous public statements that you are aware of the problem. Nonetheless, the European Central Bank (ECB) continues to fuel the climate crisis: 63 % of assets bought under your asset purchase programme CSPP belong to industries that threaten our future. What is more, your refinancing operations and measures for banking supervision consider neither climate protection goals nor climate risks. (Link)

Instead of serving the welfare of the citizens in Europe, you are thus contributing to the destruction of the basis of our existence.

The unconditional financing of fossil fuel companies is currently already putting lifes at risk elsewhere:

“In Latin America, it makes us angry to hear that the European Central Bank is continuing to support companies like Shell and Total. Every day in our work here, we see the terrible harm that they are causing. We work with Indigenous activists in the Amazon whose lives and lands are threatened by these kinds of companies. We speak to farmers in Argentina whose livelihoods have been destroyed by fracking, which is banned in most of Europe, but which Total, Shell and others are heavily involved with here. We join the call for the ECB to end fossil fuel finance immediately.”

Ilan Zugman, Latin America Managing Director of the NGO 350.org

You can no longer hide your inaction behind the mandate of price stability. Even the Network for Greening the Financial System, of which the ECB itself is a member, stated as early as 2019:

“Climate change is a source of structural change in the economy and financial system and therefore falls within the mandate of central banks and supervisors.”

The ECB can use its tools of governing and investment to drive social-ecological change. Seize the opportunity and take responsibility for citizens in Europe and around the world!

We call on you to explain by March 11 how and by when the ECB will align its monetary policy and measures for banking supervision with the 1.5 °C target of the Paris Climate Agreement.

The KoalaKollektiv

signed by:

  • 350.org
  • BankTrack
  • BIPOC Climate Justice Network
  • BUNDjugend
  • Change Finance
  • EKU-AG Attac Deutschland (Energie, Klima, Umwelt)
  • Ende Gelände
  • Extinction Rebellion
  • Facing Finance e.V
  • Fossil Free Berlin
  • Fridays for Future Deutschland
  • Gastivists
  • Greenpeace
  • Klimattac
  • Positive Money Europe
  • Reclaim Finance
  • Stay Grounded
  • SumOfUs
  • Talousdemokratia – Economic Democracy Finland
  • Urgewald
  • Katja Diehl – Mobility Consultant and Future Activist
  • Prof. Tim Jackson – Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP), University of Surrey/UK
  • Licypriya Kangujam – Indigenous Climate Activist, Founder of “The Child Movement”
  • Bill McKibben – Author and Activist, Founder 350.org
  • Igor Levit – Pianist
  • Prof. Michael E. Mann – Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science, Penn State University/USA
  • George Monbiot – Author and Activist
  • Hilda F. Nakabuye – Climate Activist, Fridays For Future Uganda
  • Luisa Neubauer – Climate Activist, Fridays for Future Germany
  • Dr. Pieter Pauw – Senior Researcher, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management
  • Prof. Dr. Volker Quaschning –  Professor for Regenerative Energy Systems, University of Applied Sciences (HTW) Berlin
  • Carola Rackete – Captain, Ecologist and Activist
  • Kate Raworth – Author of Doughnut Economics; Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford
  • Andres Veiel – Film Director (“Ökozid”)


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