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The Oil & Gas Bank

RBS & the financing of climate change
By Platform | London, Mar 12 2007
The Royal Bank of Scotland is covering up involvement in carbon emissions greater than those of the whole country of Scotland, according to new research published today, Monday 12 March 2007. The report “The Oil & Gas Bank” reveals the extent to which RBS-NatWest is providing the financial fuel driving climate change.

Publicly promoting itself as "The Oil & Gas Bank", RBS provides oil corporations with the cash to build and operate drilling rigs, pipelines and oil tankers in some of the world’s most sensitive and unstable places. Bank loans play a key role in forcing open the new carbon frontier. RBS has financed oil projects in Nigeria, Angola and Ecuador that cause environmental destruction, disruption of indigenous peoples and increase conflict.

Johan Frijns of BankTrack stated “Identifying itself so brazenly with fossil fuels carries major reputational risks for RBS. The self-assigned title “The Oil & Gas Bank” could soon become a liability rather than a badge of success.”

Mika Minio-Paluello of PLATFORM and the report’s lead author said "RBS-NatWest is locking vast emissions into our collective future. By identifying itself as “the Oil & Gas Bank”, RBS is brazenly embarking on a destructive binge with potentially devastating consequences for the planet.”

The report exposes the degree to which just one part of UK plc is fuelling climate change, and undermining efforts to reduce concentrations of carbon in the atmosphere.

By financing vast oil and gas projects, RBS loans lead to carbon emissions “embedded” in the activities of the fossil fuel sectors that tower above the bank’s direct, publicly disclosed carbon emissions that stem from its building use or business travel.
  • The emissions embedded within RBS project finance to oil and gas projects reached 36.9 million tonnes in 2005, equivalent to those of a quarter of all UK homes (6.2 million)
  • Yet RBS reported 2005 emissions as only 318,000 tonnes in its Corporate Responsibility Report – less than one hundredth of the 36.9 million tonnes RBS was responsible for through its financing of new oil and gas projects.
  • Provisional figures for 2006 already show that RBS annual emissions are greater than Scotland’s.

Bronwen Thomas of national student network People & Planet said “Climate change is a massive issue amongst students, as big as apartheid was in the 1980s. Students are concerned that by opening NatWest accounts they will help push the atmosphere past its tipping point. Soon the Oil & Gas Bank might find their young customers switching to more climate-friendly alternatives.”

Andrew Simms, policy director of nef (the new economics foundation) said “At a time when the whole world is waking up to the reality of climate change, RBS is behaving like a corporate fossil. By aggressively pursuing a policy that squeezes the last drops of oil from the most sensitive and volatile regions on earth, they are helping to send us all in the direction of the dinosaurs.”

Duncan McLaren, Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland said " Through its investments, Scotland's leading bank has been unmasked for helping to fuel climate change. The polluting emissions RBS are responsible for are on course to even dwarf that of Scotland as a nation. It's time for RBS to stop profiting from pollution.

Mika Minio-Paluello at PLATFORM: t: 0207 403 3738 m: 07766 175 641 e:

Platform Website

RBS was founded in 1727 and is one of the major UK banks. RBS has 40 million customers using the financial services of over 30 brands, including NatWest, Direct Line, Churchill,…

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