By Ginger Cassady

We’ve just started the new year, but already the clock is ticking… LOUDLY. That’s because according to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we only have until 2030 to cut global emissions by half if we want to mitigate the most disastrous effects of climate change. That’s a BIG shift in just 8 years, and we haven’t even begun to make the necessary changes. But even though climate disasters are already happening around the world, we still have hope. Why? Because we’ve seen that people power + direct action = big wins for the planet.

So it’s time to take real actions this year — and Rainforest Action Network has big plans in this fight for our future. We have eight years to make necessary changes to curb the worst impacts of climate chaos, and here are eight priorities for 2022 to help us get ahead of the curve! This year we will…

#1 STOP the flow of money to fossil fuel projects and expose climate gaslighting.

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In the lead up to Glasgow, we saw banks making a series of worthless commitments to achieve   “Net Zero by 2050.” This empty corporate rhetoric risks indefinitely delaying the meaningful policies that we so urgently need. Our message for banks and brands is simple: we need real action now. Without  detailed and actionable plans to immediately end the expansion of fossil fuels and deforestation, these empty “net zero” promises are simply climate delay; and climate delay is climate denial. False solutions like carbon offsets or climate goals for decades in the future will only exacerbate the disasters we’re already beginning to see. No more climate gaslighting, we need action NOW.

#2 Build solidarity with frontline communities across the globe.

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History and science have made it clear that Indigenous and frontline communities are the best stewards of the world’s rainforests and the best organizers against climate change. Through our Community Action Grants (CAG) program, and direct partnership work, we’ll continue to support the fight for Indigenous and frontline resistance. RAN stands in solidarity against pipelines and agribusinesses on Indigenous territory.

#3 Expose the worst financial culprits profiting from climate destruction.

a composite image of a dump truck in front of burning forest

We’re pulling back the curtain on big banks who are funding climate chaos. These modern day robber barons are stealing our chances of a stable climate. Our annual Banking on Climate Chaos report reveals that in the five years following the Paris Agreement, the world’s 60 biggest banks poured $3.8 trillion into the fossil fuel sector and onto our climate emergency like gas on a fire. RAN’s flagship report, produced in partnership and endorsed by over 300 organizations from around the world, analyzes fossil fuel financing from the world’s largest commercial and investment banks and has proven that banks are the key to shutting down the fossil fuel industry and ending runaway climate chaos.

#4 Fight for the rights of the Indigenous communities in Indonesia.

person harvests sap from tree
A community member climbs a Kemenyan (Benzoin) tree to sustainably harvest its sap, which is a highly prized, frankincense-like substance.

Indonesia’s rainforests have a critical role to play against global climate change and the crisis of global biodiversity loss. And the frontline forest communities standing in the way of destruction need our support now more than ever. The Pargamanan-Bintang Maria community in the province of North Sumatra, Indonesia, is fighting for its lands — and fights like these are key to keeping forests standing.

#5 Turn up the heat on JPMorgan Chase — the worst financier of climate chaos — and hold CEO Jamie Dimon accountable for fueling climate disasters.

banner hangs from metal poles
Protests against Chase Bank for its role as the world’s worst funder of climate change escalated as climate activists erected and scaled a two-story, steel tripod structure, blocking 47th St at Madison Ave, in front of Chase’s new flagship global corporate headquarters on May 16, 2019. One arrest was while a group of supporting demonstrators chanted and displayed banners calling on Chase to end its massive funding of fossil fuels. (Photo by Erik McGregor)

Chase recently committed to ‘net zero emissions by 2050,’ but that’s way too little too late. Chase is still pouring money into financing fossil fuels. From 2016 through 2020, Chase’s lending and underwriting activities have provided nearly $317 billion to fossil fuels projects, which means that Chase is literally profiting from the destruction of homes and the loss of life from climate disasters. That has to stop, and we’re here to prove to Chase and other big banks that climate chaos is bad for business.

#6 Expose insurance giant Liberty Mutual’s destructive climate and human rights record.

No new coal, oil, or gas project can be built without adequate insurance coverage. That means if insurers like Liberty Mutual act responsibly, they can literally halt the development of fossil fuel infrastructure. Liberty Mutual’s coal policy, which hasn’t been updated since 2019, is riddled with loopholes that allow the company to continue insuring and investing in new coal projects. And Liberty’s policies are completely silent on oil and gas. Insurance companies are supposed to be there for our recovery after disasters, but Liberty Mutual is actively causing climate disasters by insuring fossil fuel projects. Liberty’s ads tell us we’ll, “only pay for what we need,” but people around the world are paying the ultimate price for their reckless business decisions. It’s time to show Liberty Mutual that no one needs fossil fuels.

#7 Ramp up the pressure on the worst corporate drivers of deforestation, Procter & Gamble, Mondelez and Ferrero.

Last year, our forests were under attack more than ever, bulldozed and burned down around the world for the short-term profit of a handful of corporations. But forests are key in our effort to combat climate change, protect wildlife, and provide clean water, air and food for people around the world. With inspired storytelling, targeted social ads, brand-damaging spoofs, and hard-hitting action on the ground we’ll hold these companies accountable.

#8 Steward and Grow our Network.

protest with banner chase defund climate change

Faced with one crisis after another, where do we turn? Where do we find hope, strength and resilience? The answer is always the same: we find it in each other. Communities on the front lines. Ancestral leaders. Trusted allies, and new friends. The young. The experienced. Family across the globe. At Rainforest Action Network, we know the only way to face the biggest challenges — the only way to make lasting, positive change — comes from people coming together. It comes from people’s power. It comes from you. Because you are RAN.

It is 2022 and we’ve arrived at a historic moment of truth. Future generations will judge the actions of decision makers today. Keeping forests standing, keeping fossil fuels in the ground, and protecting human rights are a matter of planetary urgency. The actions taken — or not taken — this year will have life and death consequences. I know that with the support of our partners, our network, and YOU, we’ll change the course of our future, together. I look forward to continuing the fight this year.

See you in the streets, 

Ginger Cassady

protest with banner chase defund climate change