Royal Bank of Scotland Goes Green; Shares Dive

Royal Bank of Scotland
Reuters/Luke MacGregor

Every year since 2008 when it was bailed out by the UK taxpayer, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has been losing money.

Now – thanks to the Guardian‘s Chief Enviro Loon, the Hon. Damian Carrington – we have an inkling why.

Royal Bank of Scotland has reduced its global lending to oil and gas companies and doubled its green energy loans in the UK to £1bn a year, according to new figures released to the Guardian.

Here’s a quote from RBS on its fossil fuel funding policy:

“We are supporting customers in carbon-intensive industries to diversify and move away from the most high-impact activities. We will work with them to try and achieve this, but where the impacts are too high, we have proven we are prepared to withdraw our support.”

Now wait just a second. I thought Royal Bank of Scotland – there’s a clue in the name – was supposed to be a bank not a green pressure group. Since when was it its job to make investment and lending decisions based on anything other than hard-headed commercialism?

Is it any wonder that its total losses since the financial crisis have reached £51.6 billion if its rainmakers have all been replaced by bunny-huggers with degrees in Sustainability and Caringness from the University of East Anglia who think capitalism is bad, m’kay?

Perhaps I wouldn’t mind so much if I didn’t personally own RBS. If you’re a British taxpayer, you do too. In 2008 and 2009 – not that we were consulted at any point – we paid £45 billion to bail out this dead loss outfit. We still own 73 per cent of it today.

While I’m not too concerned that the bank has been pulling out of oil and coal – makes sense with the current oil glut and the death of coal companies like Peabody – what does concern me as a compulsory shareholder is the thought that it is so heavily exposed to the green sector.

Green energy is tanking across Europe. I would not want to have investments anywhere near that cesspit right now. That’s why the other day I tried to see whether it would be possible to short sell shares in Ecotricity – the bat-chomping, bird-slicing, eco crucifix company owned by Dale “Dog on a Rope” Vince.

You can’t unfortunately, otherwise I would have recommended we all pile in. Indeed, if we all short sell our green energy shares – ie bet that they’re going to go down – I’ve a hunch that by the end of the year, we might have made almost as much money as we lost bailing out Royal Bank of Scotland.


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