RBS ‘bankrolling climate change’, says campaign group

Friends of the Earth say the RBS funding of coal-powered power stations means they are "bankrolling climate change"

THE Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) ranks seventh in the world when it comes to financing the global coal industry, a new study reveals today (Wed).

Coal fired power plants are the biggest source of human made CO2 emissions, and the industry is responsible for gross human rights abuses and environmental damage.

The study ‘Bankrolling Climate Change’, shows that the world’s top 20 banks provided nearly £150bn to the coal industry since 2005, with RBS providing almost £10bn.

Mary Church, Friends of the Earth Scotland campaigner, said: “The global coal industry is the biggest source of human made C02 emissions, and both the mining and combustion of coal is associated with horrific human rights abuses and environmental degradation around the world.

“Since the bail out in 2008 – about half way through the period examined – it’s taxpayers’ money that RBS has been investing in this devastating industry.

“The bank must act now and quit bankrolling the global coal industry, instead directing this hefty investment towards low carbon technology. As a leading player in the banking sector – and as a taxpayer owned bank – RBS have a duty to set an example with environmentally responsible lending.”

The new research on the portfolios of the world’s leading banks is published by the international network BankTrack, German environment organisation urgewald, the South African social and environmental justice organisations ground Work and Earth life Africa Johannesburg.

The study examines the portfolios of 93 of the world’s leading banks and their support for 31 major coal mining companies representing 44% of global coal production, and 40 producers of coal-fired electricity, which together own over 50% of global coal-fired generation capacity.

The total value of coal financing provided by these banks since 2005, the year the Kyoto Protocol came into force, amounts to a staggering £198bn.

Typically, a 600 megawatt coal-fired power plant will cost around £1.3bn. The proposed development at Hunterston is for a 1600 Megawatts plant. Power producers therefore rely heavily on banks to provide and mobilize the necessary capital for coal plants.

The report also provides case studies of the devastating impacts that coal mining and coal power plants have on communities and the environment around the world.

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  1. No coal, no energy = death for many millions. Coal emissions can be cleaned. But CO2 is not only harmless but beneficial, the nutrition of plants, the base for plant production of oxygene by photosynthesis, and the base of practically all life on earth. More CO2 would benefit crop yield. The atmosphere’s CO2 comes from the oceans. Warmer oceans emit more (don’t absorb as much) CO2. Oceans heat the atmosphere, not the other way round. Varying solar activity governs climate by affecting oceans, clouds and precipitation.

    • Okay, this comment is fundamentally flawed on so many levels.

      No coal does not equal no energy. There are many other stores of energy that produce far few emissions.

      CO2 is beneficial to plants, but they amount they absorb is equal to the amount that is produced when they die. These natural flows of CO2 cancelled each other out. This balance remained stable for millenia until the Industrial Revolution heralded in the creation of more CO2 by burning fossil fuels.

      Coal emissions can be ‘cleaned’ by sequestration but that means pumping the ground with millions of tonnes of CO2 which must remain there forever.

      I have no idea where you got the fact that the oceans produce CO2.

      Also not sure where you get the idea that warmer oceans emit more CO2.

      Oceans do heat the atmosphere, but the atmosphere also heats the oceans. It’s cyclical innit?

      Varying solar activity? Yep, it does get hotter sometimes which affects everything. Possibly the only correct sentence you wrote.

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