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Royal Bank of Scotland Cuts Funding for Arctic Oil and Tar Sands/Oil Sands, Tightens Loans for Coal

P L Chadwick/Geograph

The Royal Bank of Scotland has issued an updated energy policy that eliminates funding for Arctic oil and tar sands/oil sands projects and cuts lending to companies that profit largely from coal.

“If we’re going to support our customers in the long run, then it means addressing the challenge of climate change and the risks and opportunities it presents,” said Kirsty Britz, RBS’ director of sustainable banking.We want to help build a cleaner, more sustainable economy for the future, and these policy changes form part of our broader approach to this major issue.”

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The new policy measures “cover the mining, power, and oil and gas sectors and are aimed at taking a tougher line on climate change,” The Guardian reports, in a story picked up by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. “The bank will not provide ‘project-specific finance’ to new coal-fired power stations, new thermal coal mines, oil sands or Arctic oil projects, or those involved in ‘unsustainable’ vegetation or peatland clearing.

The bank also plans to “tighten restrictions on general lending to mining firms that source more than 40% of their revenues from thermal coal, and power companies that generate more than 40% of their electricity from coal,” the paper adds. “The former threshold was 65%.

The bank’s announcement drew praise from ShareAction project manager Sonia Hierzig. “The strengthened energy financing policies of RBS implement many of ShareAction’s recommendations for more robust management of climate-related risks,” she said. “They also make RBS the bank with the strongest energy sector policies out of the top five UK banks.”