Take Action: Email RBS

Irresponsible lending by profit-hungry banks has brought about an unparalleled financial crisis in the global economy. As the world stands face-to-face with the prospect of an unstoppable climate crisis, the dirty investments of banks like RBS-NatWest which function to expand the carbon frontier, and extend the lifetime of fossil fuels, will undoubtedly make this prospect a reality.

Nature doesn’t do bail outs - take action now! Email RBS chief executive Stephen Hester and the UK government. Tell them to stop financing climate chaos.

We’ve put an email together. Alternatively, why not personalise your message? This can increase the effectiveness of your action.

Are you an RBS or NatWest account holder? If yes - please include the words “account holder” in your subject line and mention it in the body of your email too. RBS-NatWest are much more likely to take notice of your email if you do!

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When the action was active, this was our suggested text.

Stop RBS Financing Climate Chaos

Dear Stephen Hester, Edward Miliband and Alistair Darling,

I am writing to you today to signal my increasing concern that the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is disregarding its climate responsibility. I also wish to voice my concern that the government has not yet taken up its responsibility as majority shareholder of the bank to ensure the damage that RBS investments have on the environment is halted. I wish to inform you of my decision to take public action in boycotting all RBS Group companies should RBS fail to demonstrate a significant transition on this issue.

Climate change is perhaps the single biggest threat facing humanity. If we are to have any hope of preventing runaway climate change, rapid action is needed to build a just transition away from carbon-intensive fossil fuels towards sustainable, renewable sources of energy.

As a major financial institution with extensive involvement in the energy sector, RBS is therefore in a position of great responsibility. However, RBS currently epitomises irresponsible lending, gambling with our future climate. The $2 billion lent by RBS to renewable energy projects in 2006 quickly pales when placed alongside the $10 billion lent to oil and gas projects in the same year, and the $16 billion lent to the coal industry in the last two years. This imbalance ridicules the idea of a transition away from fossil fuels. RBS investments are locking the world into future emissions and perpetuating a system that is driving us further towards a climate catastrophe.

Having just passed some of the most progressive climate change legislation in the world, the UK government is committed to reaching an 80% cut in CO2 emissions by 2050. This commitment is severely tested by its bail out of RBS, which means the UK taxpayer now has a stake in some of the most climatically destructive industries in the world.

I call on RBS to commit to an irreversible transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy lending. RBS must establish 'no-go' areas for lending: immediately halting loans to unconventional fossil fuels (e.g. tar sands), new unabated coal power stations, and those which affect sensitive ecosystems such as rainforests.

I call on the UK government to fulfil its climate commitments by utilising its 57.5% share of RBS to ensure that the bank commits to a true policy of transition.

If there is no commitment to take these steps in the next year then I will boycott all RBS Group companies, including NatWest, Churchill Insurance, Direct Line and Ulster Bank, and encourage my friends and peers to do likewise.

Please inform me of the steps you are taking to ensure that RBS lives up to its climate responsibility.

Do you have an RBS or NatWest bank account?

Making it known to RBS-NatWest that you are a customer, will increase the power of your message.

People & Planet is planning to boycott RBS-NatWest if they don’t take action to reduce their emissions from financing fossil fuels in the next year. As an account holder you can join the boycott threat. To stay up to date with the latest campaign actions and developments in the boycott threat, you can join our mailing list by emailing Hannah.

About RBS-NatWest’s dirty investments

RBS-NatWest has done more than any other UK bank to expand the fossil fuel industry. $10 billion was loaned by RBS-NatWest to oil and gas projects in 2006 alone, according to The Oil and Gas Bank report. In the past two years, they have injected $16 billion into 27 coal projects around the world. This includes participating in loans totalling $70 billion to E.On who plan to build Kingsnorth, the first coal power station in the UK for 30 years. For more information, download Platform’s latest report Cashing in on Coal.

RBS-NatWest have financed some of the most controversial fossil fuel projects around the world. This includes unconventional sources of oil, such as the Canadian tar sands. Tar sands take significantly more energy to extract and refine, subsequently emitting 80kg CO2 per barrel. This is around three times as much as conventional crude oil. Tar sands extraction leads to massive deforestation of ancient boreal forests, and poses devastating health risks to the First Nation communities which live around it. About 15% of the total known, global oil reserves are in the form of tar sands. Extracting and burning this oil would push us beyond any hope of stopping total climate chaos.

The Ditch Dirty Development campaign calls on RBS-NatWest to enact a proper transition away from fossil fuel finance to financing renewable energy projects. Now that the government owns 57.5% of RBS, they have a responsibility to halt the devastating climate impact of the bank’s investments. The UK government has a responsiblity to listen to the real owners of RBS-NatWest - the taxpayers - whose money has been used to bail the bank out, and is now supporting some of the most climatically destructive industries.

For more information on the bail out of RBS, and how it interconnects with the climate crisis, visit our financial crisis page.