Why RBS, banks, and the fossil fuel industry?
RBS is the UK bank that has been the most heavily involved in financing fossil fuels and corporate bad guys around the world. It took part in providing E.ON with $70 billion at the time it was looking to bust out 17 new coal and gas power plants across Europe, and underwritten $8 billion in loans to ConocoPhillips in the last three years, who apart from being active in the Peruvian Amazon are one of the biggest players in the Canadian tar sands. In fact RBS is the UK bank the most heavily involved in providing the most loans to oil companies that are extracting tar sands and in doing so trashing the climate and destroying Indigenous Communities.
Since the financial crisis, RBS has received billions of pounds of public money to keep it afloat, to the point where it is now 84% owned by the UK public. Communities in the UK are now facing years of cuts to health, education and social services as a result of bailing out the actions of irresponsible bankers. And now they are using our money to prop up the E.ONs and the Shells of this world.
Using public money to support banks in trashing the climate embodies the absurdity of the economic and political system we live in. We need to stop our money from being used to finance tar sands, coal and all fossil fuels, and we need to have democratic financial institutions that serve the needs to people, communities and sustainability rather than just lining the pockets of greedy bankers.
The only way to prevent catastrophic climatic change is to stop burning fossil fuels by leaving them in the ground and switching to the alternatives. The current growth-orientated economic system causes our society to be addicted to burning fossil fuels. In order for our species to survive we need to move beyond capitalism by radically transforming human social relations.
World leaders, Politicians and the Capitalists they serve are failing to prevent the destruction of our planet because they have a vested interest in maintaining profits through business-as-usual. The false solutions they offer (such as bio-fuels, carbon trading, carbon capture and storage, nuclear etc) serve only to "green" capitalism in the search for more growth.
Banks and finance institutions are essential to maintaining the social control of capitalism for the benefit of the ruling class. British banks such as Barclays, Lloyds TSB and RBS are also major investors in companies that extract and burn conventional and unconventional fossil fuels. While the economy is in crisis after the bailouts and austerity measures begin to bite we must ask: Why is it that elites are benefiting from the profits of destructive investments which are killing the planet all loaned with money they stole from the public in the first place?
This disastrous investment must stop because fuels such as coal and the tar sands will if fully exploited certainly lead to global climate catastrophe. The building of new coal power stations and the expansion of other polluting industries must also be stopped and existing plants decommissioned.
The exploitation of Coal, Tar sands, Oil and Gas affects the health and environments of communities the world over, often causing militarization and conflict. Many are resisting this locally and finding solidarity globally, the climate justice movement works in solidarity with these struggles against these corporations for direct community and worker control.
Any transition from this unsustainable system requires the building of energy autonomy, food security and community resilience in order to limit the affect of shocks from the current; energy, climate, economic, food, water and bio-crises. Only a grassroots movement for climate justice and real democratic control can ensure that the earth's current inhabitants, as well as the future generations, are able to limit the damage already being done so as to make it through the 21st century. Resisting the banks and fossil fuel companies they fund is an important part of making these alternative futures possible.