Gimme a C!
Gimme an O!
Gimme an A!
Gimme an L!
What’s that spell?
By now, loyal blog readers, you are aware that RAN is calling on Bank of America out on their place as the #1 funding agency to the coal industry. To show the nation’s largest bank that we’re intent on helping them realize they should not invest one more dollar in coal, the Billionaires for Coal made a “happy hour” visit to a local Bank of America branch in San Francisco.
The lavishly dressed Billionaires were there to thank Bank of America for keeping their pockets full by funding coal. They were also there to boo the riff raff hippies who care more about the planet than keeping these billionaires super rich.
We achieved a paparazzi effect at one point, with several people stopping to take photos of the excited billionaires. Many interested passers-by stopped to ask us about this important issue, as well.
The beauty of the action is that we couldn’t disagree more with the selfish billionaires. If you disagree with them too, sign the petition to Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan and tell him that BoA should be a leader in ending the banking industry’s support for dirty coal and greedy coal billionaires.
Bank of America has a choice. The bank can be part of the past, or part of the future. We’ve been highlighting stories of communities that have moved off the coal grid in previous Understory posts here and here. But for there to be an energy transition on a large enough scale, the big banks must sign on and commit. Yes, change can be scary and involve risk. But I always say, you can only climb as high as you are willing to fall. Progress doesn’t happen without a committed process, and risk doesn’t have to be considered a negative thing.
Bank of America said it wants to commit to the environment, but it appears that’s more of a side project to boost the bank’s public image and to make the people who work there feel good while for the most part continuing “business as usual.”
That’s not enough. Social and environmental responsibilities are part of the new “triple bottom line.” They are not addendums, but core to the future of all business. Take a moment to think about this, bankers — this is a key distinction that will shift your daily business model.
More money invested in coal means less money going towards the research and development of alternative, renewable energy. This is not a switch that can or will be made overnight. But it’s also not merely a dream of the idealistic — it’s an imperative. Coal has become more than an environmental issue. It’s also a social justice, human rights, and financial stability issue.
Organizations such as the NAACP and RAN are raising awareness of the disproportionately distributed effects of coal plants, which impact lower income and ethnic minority communities far more drastically than wealthier communities. And scientists are coming out with more research on the devastating health effects of mountaintop removal and coal.
Here’s the rub, Bank of America: the second and third order effects of coal will cost you more in the future. Coal is a financial burden. Not to mention, the EPA’s new Toxic Air rule will cost billions in retrofits. Some plants will shut down (some already are). We’ve seen what happened with disastrous Bank of America investments before (ahem, Citywide). Don’t keep making the same mistakes, Moynihan. If you want to stick around, think about the bigger picture, not just next quarter.