BANK branches and ATMs in Welshpool and Newtown were plastered in stickers and posters on Friday in a protest over fossil fuels and biodiversity destruction.

The protests were part of a UK-wide campaign by Extinction Rebellion (XR), who are challenging the banks’ funding of fossil fuels extracting companies like Adani, who are building a controversial coal mine in Australia.

Barclays and HSBC have been the number one and two European funders of fossil fuels in the last four years, according to a recent report by the Rainforest Action Network, having provided $118bn (£95.2bn) and $86.5bn (£65.1bn) respectively to carbon-intensive companies and projects since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2016.

A recent report has also cited Barclays and HSBC as the number two and three European banks respectively for funding biodiversity loss.

Extinction Rebellion UK spokesperson Rob Wheeldon said: “David Attenborough warned us last month that capitalism is literally destroying life on Earth, and banks like Barclays and HSBC are among the worst culprits.

“Both are planning to pour fuel onto the climate and ecological crisis for the next 30 years, and our criminally complicit government has no interest in stopping them.

“As one of the world’s biggest historical emitters, the UK and its financial institutions have a responsibility to end their funding of fossil fuels well ahead of the IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) global 2050 net zero target date, and furthermore to abandon the economic model of endless extraction that is rapidly destroying what is left of our natural world.

“We demand that Barclays and HSBC completely divest from fossil fuels and halt their destruction of nature by 2025 at the latest – 2050 is a death sentence for our planet.”

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Extinction Rebellion also targeted Barclays Bank.

XR Newtown & Welshpool spokesperson David France added: “These banks don’t advertise what they do with our money. Many lovely Powys locals are investing in deforestation, the arms trade and climate collapse without even realising it.

“That’s why our group decided to rebrand these banks with an honest reflection of the services they provide.”

In May of this year, Barclays announced it would shrink its carbon footprint to net zero by 2050, a statement matched last month by HSBC. However, both banks have been criticised for setting distant deadlines and for a lack of detail in their pledges. Neither bank has made clear commitments regarding the biodiversity impacts of their lending activities.

Government bodies, including the Treasury and Bank of England, have a regulatory role over the private banking sector. However, the Committee on Climate Change, the government’s official climate advisors, reported in June that the UK was on track to meet only six out of 53 indicators and milestones needed to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

The committee advised all government departments to prepare for “a minimum of 2°C rise in global temperature with considerations of 4°C”.

Among other catastrophic impacts, 4°C global heating would likely force humans away from equatorial regions, expand deserts into southern and central Europe, and intensify the unprecedented fires, floods and hurricanes already wreaking havoc across the world.

Barclays and HSBC have been contacted for comment.