Climate change is bringing extreme weather, sea level rise and…. profits? Yes indeed, big corporations, namely banks, insurance companies and large corporations, are making money off one of the most pressing issues of our time.  From insurance policies to big banks and companies like Amazon, these capitalists have something to gain from a warming climate and polluted air. 

We will start with insurance companies, you know, the corporations supposedly there to financially help if any problems arise in your home? Well, after the Camp fires of 2018, many residents found themselves without home insurance, as insurance companies pulled policies away in an effort to save money. Why will this save them money? Because they know that these fires are going to keep coming back, and they don’t want to invest in these homes that are susceptible to climate disasters. However, they continue to invest in the fossil fuel companies that are causing these very disasters.

Now what is up with banks? Well, they too are profiting from the climate crisis. Since we have a Wells Fargo action this week, let’s dive into their corruption and contribution to the climate crisis. First off, they have lent over 151 billion dollars to gas and oil companies in the past three years alone, according to this New York Times Article. So, they are making money from the interest of these loans AND they are helping to literally fuel the climate crisis by fueling fossil fuel companies with money. On their website, though, they state that they are “committed to doing [their] part to embed sustainability.

Speaking of performative commitments to the climate, other companies, especially big corporations, are claiming to do their part while at the same time making a profit from the climate crisis. Amazon, Microsoft and Google all recently made commitments to go carbon neutral. While there are some promising aspects to these commitments, each are all deeply flawed. Microsoft, for example, has promised to increase its renewable energy ambition by 100% by 2025 and they said they would become carbon neutral by 2030. However, they are helping fossil fuel companies become more efficient at extracting oil and gas by providing their artificial intelligence services, according to GreenPeace. Amazon, meanwhile, has made commercials detailing their supposed commitment to fighting the climate crisis while at the same time threatening termination to the Amazon employees pushing Amazon to make these changes in the first place. 

So how do we begin to address the corruption of these big capitalist institutions? Well we must follow the money. We can start making change by going to where the money is and disrupting business as usual. This week, there are opportunities to do just that. Come join us. 

~ Ellen C, 350 Bay Area Mobilizing Team Member

(Want to know more? Read these resources here, here and here.)