'Girl Band' Protest at Royal Bank of Scotland sponsored low carbon investment conference
By Friends of the Earth Scotland | Edinburgh, Sep 27 2011
band' of environmental activists dressed as 'oily bankers' protested outside
the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) sponsored Scottish Low Carbon Investment
Conference (1) in Edinburgh this morning.
'girl band' sang a well-known chart song with lyrics altered to tell the story
of RBS's 'oily investments', which finance companies involved in some of the
world's most environmentally destructive activities, including oil and gas
exploration, the development of new coal plants and the mining of tar sands in
Canada, described as the most destructive industrial project on Earth (2).
Since the banking crisis in 2008, RBS has received more than £45billion in bail
out money from the UK Government - the equivalent of £736 from every man, woman
and child in the UK.
RBS is 83% owned by the British taxpayer and yet the taxpayer has no say in the
type of investments that RBS makes, and the company continues to invest in
projects and businesses that are fuelling climate change and causing
environmental destruction and human rights abuses.
While Friends of the Earth Scotland welcomes support for low carbon investments,
the organisation questions the integrity of RBS's involvement in the Scottish
Low Carbon Investment Conference. As the UK bank most heavily involved in
financing the fossil fuel industry, RBS's activities totally undermine the
transition to a low carbon future.
Stan Blackley, Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:
"RBS's sponsorship of this conference is utterly hypocritical and
completely two-faced. These 'oily bankers' are keen to be seen promoting events
like this because it distracts attention from their major links to some of the most
environmentally damaging projects on earth, such as the Canadian tar sands and
deep water oil exploration in the Arctic.
"The 'Oil Bank of Scotland' is using our, the taxpayer's, money to finance
activities that are driving climate change, damaging the environment, causing
massive human rights abuses, and contributing to inequalities all around the
world. We want the bank to adopt strict ethical and environmental investment
criteria on how it uses our money. If it is serious about investment in low
carbon technologies, then that action must come hand in hand with immediate
dis-investment in dirty energy."
Earlier this month, RBS pulled out of conducting further financial deals with
cluster-bomb manufacturers after its investments in the controversial industry
were exposed. Friends of the Earth Scotland is calling on the bank to continue
the improvement of its investment practices and shift its investment from
polluting fossil fuel extraction to the development of safe, clean, renewable
sources of energy and electricity instead.
According to research published in March 2011 ranking 35 international banks
according to the amount of finance they had been involved in providing to the
20 biggest coal based electricity generators, RBS was ranked 3rd; and to the 20
biggest coal mining operators, RBS was ranked 8th.
In 2009, RBS loaned $100 million to Scottish oil company Cairn Energy. Less than
a month later, Cairn announced that it was able to move its plans to drill in
the arctic forward by one year.
3. Friends of the Earth Scotland is Scotland¹s leading environmental campaigning
organisation, an independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of
supporters and active local groups across Scotland, and part of the largest
grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million
supporters, 77 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups -
covering every continent.
For more information about Friends of the Earth Scotland, see: www.foe-scotland.org.uk.