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Game of Thrones stars challenge big banks over fossil fuel links

Kit Harington and Rose Leslie attend ‘couples therapy’ in film for Richard Curtis ‘public education’ campaign

The Game of Thrones stars and real-life couple Kit Harington and Rose Leslie are co-starring in a Richard Curtis-backed short film highlighting the “toxic relationship” between UK high street banks and the fossil fuel industry.

The Couples Therapy film is part of Curtis’s Make My Money Matter campaign to raise awareness of how consumers’ cash may be financing industries that are destroying the planet.

In the film, Harington and Leslie play a couple sitting on a sofa in a therapist’s office attempting to work through their issues. It gradually emerges that Harington’s character represents a high street bank, and has been hiding his love for Leslie’s character, who represents an oil company.

The film ends with the pair kissing passionately and an on-screen message saying that “our banks are in a hidden relationship” with fossil fuel companies that is fuelling the climate emergency. “Help break them up,” it adds.

The campaign calls on the big five UK banks – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest and Santander – to stop financing new oil, gas and coal expansion, and said it was inviting the public to join it in “pressuring them to stop”.

According to the latest Banking on Climate Chaos report, published this month, the big five banks funnelled a total of $37.3bn (£30bn) towards the fossil fuel sector in 2022.

Curtis, who has written films including Love Actually, Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral, and is also the co-founder of Comic Relief, said: “It’s a public education campaign. We used to not think about supply chains and where our clothes were made, we used to not think about plastic bottles or what the companies we work for were doing.”

Harington, who starred as Jon Snow in the TV series Game of Thrones, said: “Myself and Rose were perfect examples of not having thought about this, so the idea of this being an awareness campaign was a really attractive one. It made me call up my bank, look at where my money was going and try to do something about it, which is important before getting into a campaign like this.”

The short film, released on Tuesday, follows an open letter sent to the banks in January, which was signed by famous names including Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson and Mark Rylance.

Harington said: “I think me and Rose really loved the idea of getting on camera together again for the first time in many years and playing this strange couple, where you’re not quite sure what’s going on. Hopefully our purpose in this is that we lend our faces to something that people are intrigued enough to click on and think: ‘What are those two doing acting together again?’ and they’re made aware of the campaign itself.”

Curtis said the original script “did not have the couple kissing passionately and falling back on to the sofa together, but Kit and Rose for some reason or other felt this would be a very helpful punchline and they did it enthusiastically, take after take”.

Meanwhile, Make My Money Matter published research that found that two-thirds (65%) of customers had no idea that their bank may be financing fossil fuel companies developing new oil and gas projects.

On its website, the campaign invites people to join its open letter to the bosses of the big five high street banks calling on them to stop financing fossil fuel expansion.

In a statement, Santander said its lending policies “prohibit the financing of new upstream oil clients and projects”.

NatWest said it did not “lend or underwrite coal, major oil and gas producers unless they have a credible transition plan in line with the Paris agreement”. It added that it no longer supported “reserve-based lending which has the specific purpose of oil and gas exploration extraction and production for any new customers”.

HSBC said it did not “provide new finance or advisory for the specific purposes of new oil and gas fields or related infrastructure, or for the most carbon-intensive oil assets … We continue to support clients who are playing an active role in the energy transition, including engagement on their transition plans.”

Barclays said it worked with customers and clients as they transitioned to a low-carbon business model. “This includes many oil and gas companies that are critical to the transition, and have committed significant resources and expertise to renewable energy … Where companies are unwilling to reduce their emissions consistent with internationally accepted pathways, they may find it difficult to access financing, including from Barclays.”

Last year, Lloyds said it would not finance new greenfield oil and gas developments approved after 2021. It added it was working on supporting clients with the transition to net zero. [Source]

admin | Apr 26, 2023

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Welcome to Kit Harington Network, your ultimate online resource for British actor Kit Harington who is best known for his role as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones. We aim to provide you with all the latest news, images & so much more on Kit. Feel free to bookmark us and follow us on Twitter for our latest updates!


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