25 June 2020

New web tools highlight companies slowing climate progress

Block Fossils Out browser extension helps users ‘blockade’ coal utilities and their backers

BERLIN, 25 June 2020 – With the prospect of a robust green recovery building in Europe, new digital tools are being launched today by Europe Beyond Coal to highlight coal utilities and financial institutions that continue to hold back progress. 

Block Fossils Out is a browser extension that users can download in order to ‘block out’ websites and social media accounts of European coal companies, as well as those of their financial backers (1). Users can show support by sharing which companies are included and why on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and by using an augmented reality filter for Instagram and Facebook to further promote the blocking of fossil fuel companies to their networks. 

German, Polish, and Czech-based coal utilities RWE, PGE, and ČEZ are among the first to be highlighted by this tool. These companies are holding their annual general meetings in the coming days (2), and none have a credible plan in place to phase out coal. 

At the same time, financial institutions such as UniCredit, BNP Paribas and PZU are currently keeping key polluting companies like these in business through either loans, bonds, underwriting, or insurance. Financial institutions therefore share responsibility for the climate and health impacts that fossil fuel companies create, and are also being included in this tool until they commit to only funding companies compliant with UN Paris climate agreement goals. 

“With green recovery plans taking shape, we have an unprecedented opportunity to make necessary structural changes. A 2030 coal phase-out is key to building a healthier, safer, more resilient and fairer Europe,” said Kathrin Gutmann, Campaign Director, Europe Beyond Coal. “With this new digital tool we want to mirror civil disobedience actions from real-life in the digital space, and help people protest greenwashing from fossil fuel companies and their financial backers at this crucial juncture.” 

ENDS

Contacts:

Kathrin Gutmann, Campaign Director, Europe Beyond Coal (German, English)

kathrin@beyond-coal.eu, + 49 (0) 1577 836 3036

Alastair Clewer, Communications Officer, Europe Beyond Coal

alastair@beyond-coal.eu, +49 176 433 07 185

Notes:

1) The browser extension, for Google Chrome and Firefox, checks clicked URLs against a database of web addresses owned by the worst polluting coal companies in Europe and financial institutions that support them. When there is a match, the website is blacked-out with a message explaining why. The extension also creates a hyperlinked popup with details of each company’s activities whenever that company’s name appears during the user’s normal web browsing.

The Block Fossils Out extension and more information including the augmented reality filter and a full list of blocked companies can be found at www.blockfossilsout.com

2) The RWE AG virtual AGM will take place on Friday 26 June, while the Grupa PGE one will happen behind closed doors on the same day. ČEZ Group’s AGM will follow on Monday 29 June.

About: 

Europe Beyond Coal is an alliance of civil society groups working to catalyse the closures of coal mines and power plants, prevent the building of any new coal projects and hasten the just transition to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Our groups are devoting their time, energy and resources to this independent campaign to make Europe coal free by 2030 or sooner. www.beyond-coal.eu

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