Tuesday, October 9, 2007

What Is Your Bank Doing to Fuel Global Warming?

You can't eat, drink, breathe or wear gold. But does your bank think it's more important than the environment?

What about YOU?

What are you willing to forsake for thirty pieces of silver?

Big Banks Are Selling Us Out on Climate Change

By Tara Lohan, AlterNet. Posted October 6, 2007.

Whether we avert catastrophe with climate change may actually be decided by Citibank and Bank of America.

We're nearing the end of the window of opportunity we have to avert the catastrophic effects predicted from the earth's changing climate. We're either going to sink or swim. Our best hope at this time is to drastically reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, like carbon dioxide.

Global leaders are putting their heads together to come up with solutions. Across the world, countries and municipalities are passing legislation to limit GHG emissions; people are cutting consumption; new technologies are being developed to further alternative energy sources. And yet, in the United States, the coal industry has us poised to move in the absolute wrong direction. Right now, there are about 150 new coal-fired power plants on the drawing board. The amount of polluting emissions they will release is staggering -- between 600 million and 1.1 billion tons of CO2 emissions every year, for the next 50 years. And this, according to Rainforest Action Network (RAN), will basically negate every other effort currently being considered to fight climate change.

Over the last 20 years since Bill McKibben wrote the first global warming book for a general audience, only a few things have changed: Scientists have realized the problem is worse than they thought, and the crisis is coming on faster than predicted.

"The final question as to whether we can address it in serious fashion is whether the coal that is in the ground stays in the ground," said McKibben. "We already know that we are going to burn all the oil we can get our hands on because we have gotten our hands on most of it and it is intensely valuable. Coal, on the other hand, is the question. If the 150 power plants get built, there is no use talking about compact fluorescent light bulbs or mass transit or any of those other things ... we'll have no hope of averting climate change short of catastrophic proportions."

And what's the quickest way to halt those plants? Follow the money.

Without funding from banks, companies don't have the resources to front the $140 billion necessary to construct all those new dirty power plants. Rainforest Action Network learned that the money trail is not so complicated; it leads to two main banks -- Citi and Bank of America.

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More than 20,000 people marched through London on November 5th 2006 to demand action on climate change

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