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In the past two years BNP Paribas, KBC, Dexia, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, ING and AXA have invested at least 25 billion euro in climate-threatening activities including new coal plants, oil extracted from tar sands, or the decimation of rain forests. Those are the conclusions from the report "Bankers on Hot Coals", which Netwerk Vlaanderen is presenting today. The NGO calls on the banks to cease investing in new coal plants immediately en therefore launches the petition Bankruptcy in cooperation with Greenpeace, WWF, Friends of the Earth, BBL and KWB.
Bankers on hot coals
If we believe their advertising, all banks are green. The report 'Bankers on hot Coals' shows a different reality. Energy companies building new coal plants or extracting oil from tar sands are being financed by big banks that are operational in Belgium. Esther Vandenbroucke, co-author of the report for Netwerk Vlaanderen states : "Banks like to boast about their green image. But as long as banks keep on investing in coal plants, there is no sustainable banking. We found more than 25 billion euro investments in climate-threatening practices like coal-based energy, oil extracted from tar sands or the decimation of rain forests."
Polluting new coal plants = 130 million cars
Bankers on hot coals makes a remarkable conclusion. If the 70 new coal plants planned in Europe were to be built, they would emit the same amount of greenhouse gasses as 130 million cars. Banks that are operational in Belgium don't appear to care about this at the moment. They are putting our savings into the construction of new coal plants. Deutsche Bank, for instance, gave a loan for the construction of a new coal plant that will emit 5.2 million tons of CO2 annually. This equals the annual emissions of about 1.7 million cars. AXA, KBC, Dexia, Citibank, BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank invested 5 billion euro in the German energy giant RWE Power during the past two years. In 2008, 60% of the electricity produced by RWE was derived from coal and lignite. RWE plans to build 10 new coal plants in Germany, The Netherlands, England and Bulgaria in the upcoming years. They send in the direction of a pitch-black future.
The demand to cease investments in coal plants is being supported by four big environmental organisations: WWF Belgium, Friends of the Earth Flanders & Brussels, Greenpeace Belgium and Bond Beter Leefmilieu. "A euro for energy can only be invested once. Opting for coal also implies not investing in renewable energy. These kind of choices lock us into a form of energy production which is damaging for the climate," states Sam Van den Plas from WWF. The workers movement KWB is also one of the initiators of the petition-action Bankruptcy.
Through fire for climate-friendly banking
Flemish celebrities such as de Neveneffecten, Joke Devynck, Nic Balthazar en Gili support the campaign in a daring way. Amidst the banks at the Kouter in Ghent they will walk for several meters on a carpet of red-hot coals. With this stunt Netwerk Vlaanderen launches its new campaign for durable banking, Bankruptcy.
Programme Firewalk Wednesday, 2nd of June:
17u00 : start
17u15 : start stage programme with interviews
18u00 - 19u00 : FIREWALK (with, among others, Neveneffecten, Joke Devynck, Gili, Nic Balthazar and Low Impact Man)