Climate protesters will today (25/4/19) gather outside the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Annual General Meeting (AGM) holding banners and chanting their message: “Fossil Banks, No Thanks!”. They want the Bank to end its financing of the fossil fuel projects driving climate change.

The global campaign launched last year calling on banks to stop financing fossil fuels identifies the Scottish bank as a significant financier of the fossil fuel industry. A recent report by BankTrack and partners found that RBS has invested over $4 billion into fossil fuels since the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015.

Campaigners recognise that RBS has been taking steps in the right direction in the past few years. At its 2018 AGM, the bank announced new energy lending policies including an exclusion of project-specific finance to Arctic oil and oil sands projects, as well as new coal-fired power stations and new thermal coal mines. It further excludes finance to mining and power companies that are reliant on thermal coal for more than 40% of their revenues or production.

In addition RBS, which is 62% publicly owned, has faced pressure from the public and civil society to act in line with the Government’s objectives on climate. The bank’s fossil fuel lending in the last couple years has fallen to close to zero. Campaigners say this improvement in practice needs be made permanent through company policy that specifically excludes financing of fossil fuels.

Environmental groups have said that the current level of progress is not nearly enough to meet the level of ambition needed for the bank to be recognised as a climate leader. The ‘Fossil Banks, No Thanks!’ campaign demands banks puts a complete end to fossil fuel financing by the next United Nations Climate Conference – COP25 – in Chile this December.

Lise Masson, Climate Campaigner at BankTrack commented,

“As we witness the increasing occurrence and violence of climate impacts around the world, we need banks to take much bolder steps to address climate change. RBS has the opportunity to step forward and lead the way out of fossil fuel finance in the UK. That means ending financing for all new fossil fuels, and starting to phase out existing finance for this climate-wrecking industry.”

Ric Lander, Divestment Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland commented,
“Burning of fossil fuels is the key driver of climate change. By continuing to finance businesses who want to extract, produce or sell fossil fuels, RBS is exacerbating the climate crisis and profiting from this destruction.

“In recognition of the environmental damage that oil, gas and coal companies are causing pension funds, universities, and local and national governments are divesting from fossil fuels apace. RBS appears to have begun this journey, but the lack of clarity over the Bank’s direction is alarming.

“Having plunged the UK into the financial crisis, RBS needs to make a clear and bold plan to divest from the climate crisis.”

ENDS

AGM Details :

Thursday, 25 April 2019 @ 2 pm BST
RBS Gogarburn, Edinburgh EH12 1HQ
https://www.investors.rbs.com/shareholder-centre/shareholder-meetings.aspx

Photocall details:

WHAT: Anti-fossil fuel protestors with large banners and signs outside the RBS AGM
WHERE: RBS sign at entrance to RBS headquarters at Gogarburn. 175 Glasgow Rd, Edinburgh, EH12 9SB
WHEN: 1:15pm Thursday 25th April
WHY: Climate campaigners are demanding that the publicly-owned Royal Bank of Scotland end its financing of fossil fuel projects.


NOTES TO EDITORS

[1]The ‘Fossil Banks, No Thanks’! Campaign aims to stop large commercial banks from financing the fossil fuel industry.
https://www.fossilbanks.org/

[2] Fossil fuel finance gets cold shoulder from RBS
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/fossil-fuel-finance-gets-cold-shoulder-from-rbs-gcshx3rgf

[3] Banks have pumped $1.9 trillion into fossil fuels since the Paris Climate Agreement in December 2015
https://www.fastcompany.com/90318532/banks-pumped-1-9-trillion-into-fossil-fuels-since-the-paris-climate-deal?campaign_date=03202019&position=1

[4]BankTrack is:
* International tracking, campaigning and CSO support organisation targeting private sector commercial banks and the activities they finance.
* An organisation working with international coalitions to bring fossil fuel finance to an end.
https://www.banktrack.org

[5] Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.