U.S. environmentalists seeking to turn up the heat on the coal industry, which they blame for a litany of problems, are targeting two banks they say have taken the lead in financing mines.
Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. are the targets of a new campaign launched Tuesday by the Rainforest Action Network (RAN). The effort also is aimed at shoring up U.S. credibility on climate change in future talks with China and India, which lead the world in burning coal, a principal source of the heat-trapping gas carbon dioxide.
"From cradle to grave, coal is dirty," said Rebecca Tarbotton (almost occuponymous-ed.), the group's global finance campaign director. The banks can expect "a ruckus in the streets" and questions from shareholders but plans do not call for consumer boycotts, Tarbotton said.
To press its cause, RAN has teamed up with the Interfaith Council on Corporate Responsibility, an investment network of 275-plus religious institutions, and organisers of Step It Up, a series of nationwide anti-global warming demonstrations, the next of which is planned for Nov. 3. The banks had no direct comment on the campaign but told IPS they embraced environmental concerns.
"Citi, together with its clients, environmental organisations and other stakeholders, is taking a responsible and strong leadership position on climate change and is on record as supporting comprehensive efforts to move forward on the complicated issue of climate change," said Citi spokeswoman Valerie Hendy.
"Moreover, we have committed 50 billion dollars, more than any other institution, over the next 10 years for climate-friendly efforts." The world's largest bank received top marks from the Carbon Disclosure Project, an independent organisation that works with shareholders and corporations, for its efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions, Hendy added.
Citi has promised a 10-percent cut in carbon emissions from its operations by 2011 "and we are investing in climate-friendly enterprises and engaging with our clients on their carbon reduction efforts," she said....MORE