Campaign spotlight: Toxic assets

Adam Ramsay, campaigner at People and Planet

What's the problem?
We've identified the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) as one of the UK's main financiers of fossil-fuel extraction, which is one of the principal drivers of climate change. It has been calculated that, in 2006, its investments were responsible for more carbon emissions than were produced by the whole of Scotland. When the UK government bailed RBS out, public money was in effect pumped into dirty projects such as the extraction of oil from Canadian tar sands.

How does it affect you?
The UK has a target to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. In that year, I will be 65 years old. My lifetime is likely to be defined by climate change. My generation has the task of attempting to avert its worst impacts. We see RBS as a big obstacle.

What are you doing about it?
We want the government to use RBS to help fund the transition to a low-carbon economy. We have been protesting, lobbying MPs and passing motions in universities up and down the country supporting a boycott of RBS. We are getting tens of thousands of people to write to the Treasury and we have published a report from a banking expert. We also made headlines this summer by launching an application for a judicial review
of the Treasury's failure to place sufficient conditions on RBS's use of public money. We faced RBS in the high court on 20 October. The judge found against us, but we're appealing.

How can we get involved?
Visit our website or sign our petition

This article first appeared in the 09 November 2009 issue of the New Statesman, Castro