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Taking a broader perspective…

Climate Camp – Why RBS?

This post was cross-posted from Bright Green Scotland with the kind permission of Adam Ramsay who co-edits Bright Green Scotland.

The camp for climate action came to Scotland this week.

To those wondering why so many people are angry with this bank, the answer is pretty simple: when it comes to climate change, RBS make it happen – and they do it with taxpayers’ bail-out money. RBS is Europe’s biggest financer of the fossil fuel extraction driving climate change. According to a report last year by banking expert Nick Silver, the bank is financing projects and companies which deliver 3% of carbon emissions worldwide: more than the whole UK economy.

And RBS also seems to specialise in facilitating and financing the most destructive projects. Since they were bailed out, they have used €2.3bn of our money to prop-up companies operating in Canada’s tar sands. This mega-project in Alberta – the largest in human history – is up-rooting an area of crucial carbon-sink forest the size of England and Wales. It’s poisoning the land and water and so killing the indigenous people who live there. It’s doing this to extract vast quantities of oil mixed with sand and mud – a substance so dirty, and so plentiful, that NASA scientists tell us that, unless we stop extracting these tar sands, we can’t stop runaway climate change.

RBS is also behind disastrous oil projects inflaming war in central Africa. When they lent around $100 million of our money to Tullow Oil earlier this year, they were financing a project drilling for oil right on the border between the DRC and Uganda. The resource war between these countries has killed roughly 5 million in the last 15 years. That’s nearly 1 in every thousand people on earth. When Tullow moved in with their partners Heritage Oil, they decided to arm both sides in the conflict as they mobilized around the area where oil was discovered. Which helped.

Most recently, they were the funders behind Cairn Energy’s deep drilling project in pristine Arctic waters. Cairn’s Chief Exec recently welcomed climate change. He said that the melting ice will give access to more oil. Nice.

And since they were bailed-out, they’ve been doing all of this with our money. At a time when the Government claims it can no longer afford to finance the much needed switch to a low carbon economy, it is allowing RBS to throw billions of our money down the fossil fuel drain – which can only lead to long term losses, if the world is weaned off fossil fuels, or to catastophic climate if it isn’t.

RBS is a failed bank. Their insanity with sub-prime mortages kick-started the credit crunch. They are 84% owned by the taxpayer because we had to bail them out with billions. We must stop mis-using this money, or my generation will pay a much bigger price.

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