'Block Fossils Out' aims to block users from accessing websites and social media accounts belonging to firms which produce or fund coal, gas and oil
An internet browser tool designed to "block out" websites and social media accounts belonging to companies involved in financing, extracting or burning of fossil fuels has been launched today by climate campaigners, who argue such firms are "undermining our collective future".
The Block Fossils Out browser extension automatically blocks a user's access to websites and social media accounts of companies involved in the coal, gas and oil sectors, according to campaign group Europe Beyond Coal, which is calling for a phase-out of coal across the continent by 2030.
Companies included on the browser tool's "block out" list include financial giants BNP Paribas and Santander, the group said.
BusinessGreen has contacted both banks for comment, although both have pledged to align their investments with the Paris Agreement and UN Sustainable Development Goals, as part of an initiative led by the Principles for Responsible Banking. BNP Paribas has also recently moved to tighten its coal financing policies, with a target to end coal power financing in Europe by 2030, and also across the rest of the world by 2040.
But Kathrin Gutmann, campaign director for Europe Beyond Coal said European coal, oil, and gas companies and their financial backers "all need to show us how they plan to exit the fossil business fast".
"Coal must be phased out from the European energy mix by 2030," she insisted. "The future is in renewable energy, and these companies need to prove to us they are truly transforming. Until then, we opt to block their online presence."
Users of the browser tool are also being encouraged by the campaign group to share which companies are included in the block list on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, while an 'augmented reality selfie filter' has been produced for use on Instagram and Facebook to further push the campaign.
The tool's launch coincides with a series of 'Climate Care Uprising' protests and the next wave of Fridays For Future school student climate strikes due to take place in the coming weeks.
Bianca Castro, Fridays for Future activist, said the internet was "awash with misinformation" on the climate crisis, and argued many financial institutions in Europe continue to fund fossil fuels via loans, bonds, underwriting and insurance. "We need digital tools like Block Fossils Out to highlight who is holding back progress, and help us send them a message that their voices are not welcome until they start being part of the solution to the climate crisis," she said.
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