CHARLOTTE—In a sophisticated, peaceful action to pressure the bank to stop funding coal, nine people are risking arrest today at sit-ins at four different Bank of America locations across Charlotte. The activists are a part of Rainforest Action Network’s campaign to confront the bank’s leading role in coal financing, which impacts the quality of air in North Carolina and contributes to global climate change pollution.
San Francisco, CA – A number of major banks, including Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, invest in the acceleration of climate change each year by committing billions to polluting energy industries like coal, according to a report published by Rainforest Action Network’s program today.
SAN FRANCISCO–Today, Bank of America released its 2011 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report that fails to address its most significant environmental impact, coal financing. The bank instead points to internal operational improvements to address sustainability, which contributes a small fraction of emissions to global climate change, in comparison to the bank’s fossil fuel investments.
Last week, activists with the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) climbed 100ft to suspend a banner on Charlotte's Bank of America stadium, where President Obama is scheduled to make his nomination acceptance speech on 6 September. The banner read "Bank of America" with the word "America" crossed out and replaced with "Coal".
Some groups are calling for a moratorium on foreclosures and an increase in loan principal reduction as effects of the mortgage crisis continue. Others decry the bank’s financing of coal energy projects, and still others seek to end corporate political donations.
Organizers have pledged nonviolence. In fact, many of them have gone through workshops or other training on nonviolent protesting, said Amanda Starbuck of the Rainforest Action Network. But they don’t rule out street and sidewalk blockages that could spur police action.
"We see Bank of America as the worst of the worst," said Amanda Starbuck, a director at the environmental advocacy group Rainforest Action Network, which organized the protests. "There's a lot of momentum around Bank of America."
The banner that hung briefly from “Bank of Coal” stadium Wednesday was the first of upcoming protests that, four months before the Democratic National Convention, will test Charlotte’s ability to police waves of demonstrators.
Protesters will welcome Duke Energy shareholders at their annual meeting Thursday morning. Organizers say 1,000 activists will be on hand for Bank of America’s shareholder meeting next Wednesday. Another group vows to “occupy” a conservative legislative summit May 11.