RBS accused over funding for tar sands 'blood oil'
Tuesday 02 March 2010
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) stands accused of "cashing in on blood oil" from tar sands just days after the taxpayer-owned bank was battered by the £1.3bn bonus scandal.
The bank denied the charge, maintaining that it has "very limited direct involvement" in such projects and pointing to its role as a leading arranger of finance for renewable power schemes.
Although Canada's tar sands contain quantities of recoverable oil second only to Saudi Arabia, the extraction is highly controversial, and green groups claim it damages local habitats and boosts global climate change.
In total, UK banks have underwritten 17 per cent of all the tar sands-related deals in the last three years, according to research by groups including the World Development Movement and the think-tank Platform. RBS has underwritten the largest number of loans, accounting for more than $7.5bn (£5bn) or 7 per cent of the global total, said the report. The even greater criticism is that $2.5bn-worth of the total has taken place since the bank was bailed out with public money in October 2008.
"RBS has been involved in providing more money in loans to destructive tar sands companies than any other UK bank," Mel Evans, from the finance and climate team at Platform, said. "When RBS executives get their bonuses, they are being rewarded for enabling oil companies to devastate traditional ways of life for indigenous communities in Canada, while making the problems of climate change much, much worse."
RBS said yesterday that it does not recognise the $7.5bn figure, and maintained that the bank had not provided project finance for tar sands since 2006. "We assess lending, investment and services decisions on an individual basis and take into account relevant social, ethical and environmental issues as a part of that process," a spokesman said. "We are determined to play our part in the global shift to a more efficient, innovative and equitable use of resources."
The report's authors are calling on the UK banking sector to stop providing finance to any companies involved in the extraction of unconventional oil. Politicians should use the public's 84 per cent stake in RBS to veto financing for tar sands, they said.
auctionThe first 23 lots have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
healthJames Bond's alcohol consumption puts him at 'high risk' of cirrhosis, tremors... and impotence
comedy'Fresh Meat' star sees off stiff competition from Alan Carr, David Mitchell, Graham Norton, Lee Mack and Sarah Millican to win top prize
musicPolice chief rejects rappers' claims that his work is as dangerous as law enforcement or military service
tvSpoiler alert: Find out the result of a heated final show
Beatles rush out 'bootleg' album to defy EU copyright law
Harvey Weinstein reveals his secret weapon on-set
Now that an oil trader's drinking has got him sacked, will we all have to make do with an afternoon latte?
Chiwetel Ejiofor and Idris Elba get nods for Best Actor, which no black Brit has ever won
Geoffrey Macnab reviews The Desolation of Smaug - the meat in Peter Jackson's Hobbit sandwich
peopleWhat advice would David Cameron give to his younger self?
Auction house to give away $1m masterpiece in charity raffle - and tickets are only $100 each
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ sign language interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
- 2 Mystery of Epping Forest 'big cat' is solved
- 3 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 4 Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 5 Physicists discover 'clearest evidence yet' that the Universe is a hologram
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Regulatory Man...
£50000 - £75000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Pre-Sales / Cl...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + Bonus + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Regulatory Man...
£40000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer (CCNP, CCIE, Netwo...