Despite Canada’s climate change commitments, the country’s “big five” banks continue to finance and support the expansion of fossil fuel industries. In fact, the extent of the banks’ support since the oil price collapse in 2014 shows that this backing hinders Canada’s progress on reducing emissions.
These banks are perhaps the most powerful corporate entities in Canada, certainly among the largest and most profitable. Some are even members of the “too big to fail” club and have been called a “comfortable oligopoly.” They could be playing a crucial role to help Canada achieve its Paris Agreement commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. Yet in its 2019 Emissions Gap Report, the United Nations Environment Programme projects that Canada’s emissions will be at least 15 per cent above target by 2030.
The banking sectors in many other countries have committed to helping the world meet the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, but the big Canadian banks did not join in. This report explains why: Canada’s big banks continue to rely on profits from financing the fossil fuel industry despite the danger those investments pose for the future of our planet.
Author: Donald Gutstein
Donald Gutstein is a writer and researcher, retired after teaching for 30 years in the Simon Fraser University School of Communication. He is the author of six books, most recently The Big Stall: How Big Oil and Think Tanks Are Blocking Action on Climate Change in Canada.