The Royal Bank of Scotland must stop wrecking the climate and threatening human rights
Over the weekend hundreds of people concerned about human rights abuses and the environment have gathered outside the headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland in Edinburgh. They’ve set up camp for four days to educate and campaign against the root causes of climate change.
After mobilising and helping stop the proposed third runway at Heathrow and a new coal fired power station at Kingsnorth, this growing mass movement is reclaiming our future from government and profit-hungry corporations.
Since the bank bail-out in 2008, the UK government has used a staggering £45.5 billion of UK taxpayers’ money – the GDP of Kenya and Tanzania combined – to prop up the Royal Bank of Scotland.
And RBS has been using that public money to finance projects and companies that are wrecking the climate and threatening human rights, such as tar sand extraction in Canada.
The Royal Bank of Scotland has been a Scottish institution for nearly 300 years, with its headquarters in Edinburgh. The £45.5 billion bail-out has left more than 80% of RBS owned by the UK taxpayer.
We have the right to demand that the government rein in the power of RBS, and the other bailed-out banks, and force them to keep to the highest environmental and human rights standards when they invest our money.
Climate camp is one of the ways that people are making their voices heard. But even if you have not made your way to Edinburgh you can take action to stop our money being used to fund climate change by emailing the Chancellor. It will only take five minutes.
Many of the world’s poorest people are already suffering the impacts of climate change and, for them, the investment decisions that RBS is making may literally be a matter of life or death.
RBS must be made to align its investment policies with those of a Green Investment Bank, a bank that can help Britain's transition to a low-carbon economy and provide thousands of green jobs. It is the responsibility of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to transform the Royal Bank of Scotland.
The numbers of people attending Climate Camp is indicative of the strength of feeling about this issue. And as concern and a sense of injustice grows across the UK, the media and the government can no longer just dismiss those concerned as ‘lefty, muesli munching, Guardian readers’.
When respected journalists like Ian Fraser (The Sunday Times, The Financial Times and BBC News) and former PriceWaterhouse Coopers consultant James Leaton are voicing similar concerns, surely it’s time for even the most sceptical to sit up and take note.