Rainforest Action Network (RAN), Coal River Mountain Watch, the Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) and students (and a few Rising Tiders) from around the country shut down a Washington, D.C. Citi branch today by performing a theatrical “die-in” and delivering a bundle of coal to the financial giant. The protesters, in Washington for this week’s major youth climate conference Power Shift, called on Citi to stop funding the leading cause of global warming in the United States: coal.”There is no room for coal in America’s energy future if we are going to avoid catastrophic climate change” said Rebecca Tarbotton, director of RAN’s Global Finance Campaign. “We have better options. Citi could be a real climate leader if they directed their financing towards efficiency and renewable energy. As it stands, dollar for dollar, they’re the biggest climate criminal in the country.” Click here to watch video
According to Bloomberg, Citi was the coal industry’s top underwriter in 2006 and is a top lender to companies proposing to build new coal-fired power plants. If built, these plants will emit more than 600 million tons of carbon dioxide annually and negate nearly every other effort to combat climate change. While Citi finances this coal rush, leading climate scientists are recommending drastic reductions in global emissions in order to prevent climate chaos. Citi is also a top financier of companies that practice mountaintop removal coal mining, a coal extraction method that is decimating Appalachian mountains and communities.
“At home in Appalachia, coal companies are literally bombing our homes and mountains,” said Hillary Hosta of Coal River Mountain Watch. “They are operating illegally, poisoning our air and water, and driving us out of our homes. I want Citi to realize that their coal investments are destroying real people’s lives here in the United States.”
“Young people realize that climate change is a matter of life and death for ourselves and future generations, and we will do whatever it takes to tackle the root causes,” said Faye Bibeau, a lead organizer with SEAC. “Citi is going to be in for a rude awakening when they realize that youth today will not stand for their money being used to finance coal and climate change. They can say goodbye to student credit card customers if they continue to fund coal”.