Tar Covered Climate Activists Shut Down Bank
August 23, 2010
A group of 'tar' covered activists from the Camp for Climate Action have locked themselves to the RBS branch on Nicholson Street, shutting the bank down. This is the second time that the Nicholson Street bank branch has been shut down by protests today, as several activists who had blockaded the bank entrance by supergluing themselves together in front of it had just been removed by the police, resulting in three arrests.
Anorther group of activists is demonstrating with banners and leaflets outside the bank branch and on the streets of Edinburgh today targetting RBS branches and sponsored events to expose the extent of Festival sponsor RBS's involvement in climate crimes.
The activists are calling for a moratorium on all new investent and loan financing in Tar Sands and other fossil fuels projects. Royal Bank of Scotland is the UK's largest investor in companies operating in the Tar Sands and financed 7.5 billion US dollars worth of loans between 2007 and 2009. One of these companies is Enbrgide, whose controversial proposed Northern Gateway Passage would be laid through British Columbia, across more than fifty First Nation territories and prestine eco-systems.
The Gateway project will cross over 1000 rivers and streams. No oil extraction is safe and secure but given Enbridge has a history of spills from its pipelines this project poses a serious risk to endangered salmon populations which use these rivers to spawn. Any spill will also contaminate the plants and animals that local First Nations depend upon for food and medicine.
The action is in solidarity with First Nation peoples who experience the harshest and most immediate effects of RBS's inventments. The activists are concerned that any contamination could mirror the horrific health impacts, including rare cancers, seen in First Nation communities who live near Tar Sands extraction zones. Two members of the First Nation communities have been at Climate Camp this week, speaking of the destruction of their territory and the tragic human cost of the Tar Sands mega project.
Jasmine Thomas, a member of the frog clan from Saik'uz, which is part of the Carrier Nation, said "Tar Sands is a global phenomenon. It is the largest industrial project in the world. It is also the dirtiest. Tar Sands produces three times as much CO2 per barrel as conventional oil. There's enough underground to push us over the edge into runaway climate change. It should be everyone's concern".
Daniel Balla, one of the activists involved, commented "We feel compelled to take action against RBS as it is now 84% owned by the UK taxpayer. People may be unaware that the institution using vast amounts of public money is investing in the most destructive carbon-emitting industries in the world. Since the bank was bailed out by the British Goverment, 99% of RBSs financing of the energy sector has been pumped into fossil fuels. The future RBS is currently funding will be further polluted,
oil-addicted and incur a tragic loss of Indigenous Peoples and degredation of the environment".