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Wed, 17 Apr


Islington Climate Centre

A Burning World by Gideon Mendel

Powerful images expose the destruction inflicted upon the natural environment by manmade climate change

A Burning World by Gideon Mendel
A Burning World by Gideon Mendel

Time & Location

17 Apr 2024, 18:05 – 18:10

Islington Climate Centre, First Floor. Next to Wagamama, Angel Central, Islington. Nearest tube: Angel (5 minutes)

About the event

Cast your minds back to 2016: the year of COP21 in Paris when 194 parties (193 states and the EU) signed an historic agreement to limit the global temperature increase to 2°C, with the aim of keeping it within the ‘safe’ limit of 1.5°C. 

Since then, we have had seven years of broken pledges, inadequate policies, corporate greenwashing – and highly profitable business as usual for the fossil fuel industry. And so the carbon emissions and global temperatures just keep on rising. (1.5°C will be reached and exceeded all too soon)

It didn’t have to come to this. As the climate crisis escalates, it's imperative to spotlight the role played by financial institutions. In the last 7 years, $5.5 trillion has flowed from the coffers of 60 banks into fossil fuel projects. Standard Chartered Bank alone has contributed over $46 billion.

In an outstanding piece of greenwashing, Standard Chartered Bank sponsors the 'Weather Photographer of the Year' competition, now in its seventh year — the same length of time since the Paris COP. This competition captures the dramatic spectacle of extreme weather events worldwide. Yet its narrative falls short. It often fails to contextualise these captivating images within the broader context of destruction. It suggests that extreme weather is beautiful, sublime, devoid of peril.

In contrast, this exhibition, part of the Portraits in Ashes collection  by award-winning photographer Gideon Mendel, lays bare the devastation wrought by wild fires, to communities and landscapes. It is clear It is clear that these are intrinsically linked to the continuing and increasing combustion of fossil fuels enabled by banks like Standard Chartered.

Portraits in Ashes invites all those complicit in the funding of fossil fuel projects to look directly at the horrific consequences. With the future of the world as we know it hanging in the balance, is it too late for the sponsors of climate breakdown to see what they are doing?

Notes: the centre will be open every Wednesday or Thursday afternoon and during events. Please visit the exhibition then.

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