Royal BS

By Brant Ran

Hundreds of climate activists set up camp this morning next to the headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in Edinburgh. Since an October 2008 bailout, taxpayers have owned more than 80% of the bank.

But Downing Street won’t enforce basic environmental standards at RBS so Climate Camp is taking direct action. The camp is calling for RBS to end financing of dirty fossil fuel projects like Canada’s tar sands.

RBS defended itself in the press by touting its backing of alternative energy projects. The bank told the Guardian that “in 2006 the bank was the world’s largest single financier of wind and green energy.” It told the BBC that “In recent years RBS has been one of the most active banks in the world in providing funding for renewable energy projects.”

Those claims are royal BS.

According to financial market data compiled by Bloomberg, RBS ranked third as financier for alternative energy companies in 2006. In the period since the taxpayer bailout, RBS ranks a distant 19th!

This chart illustrates the point. Of the more than $15 billion RBS raised for the energy sector since the bailout, just $83 million went to alternative energy–less than one percent.