Canadian banks have funneled more than $481 billion into fossil fuels since the Paris Agreement

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On March 18, the Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, Indigenous Environmental Network, Oil Change International, Reclaim Finance and Sierra Club released this report that shows that 35 banks have poured a total of $2.7 trillion into fossil fuels in the four years since the Paris Agreement was adopted (2016-2019).

This financing included more than $481 billion from Canadian banks: the Royal Bank of Canada (at $140.6 billion), Toronto Dominion ($103.4 billion), Scotiabank ($97.7 billion), the Bank of Montreal ($82.1 billion) and CIBC ($57.7 billion).

The report notes, “The world’s fifth biggest fossil funder is Canada’s RBC.”

It also notes, “The U.N. climate conference in Glasgow, [now scheduled to start on November 9th] on the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the landmark Paris climate agreement, will be a crucial deadline for banks to align their policies and practices with a 1.5° Celsius world in which human rights are fully respected.”

Johan Frijns, director of BankTrack, says, “It is high time banks recognised that reaching the Paris climate goals requires an immediate end to finance for all new fossil fuel projects, and a rapid phase-out of existing fossil finance.”

Frijns highlights, “This should be the Global Glasgow Goal for all banks.”

On March 18, The Guardian reported, “Ministers and officials have privately discussed the possibility of postponing the Cop26 talks scheduled for Glasgow this November [because of the coronavirus pandemic], but no decision has yet been taken.”

Climate change and human rights

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has commented, “We call on leaders and governments to recognise that climate change and environmental degradation severely undermine the human rights of their people.”

Katharine Rall of Human Rights Watch has stated, “The frequent attacks and threats against environmental rights defenders throughout the world are an example of why governments need to include protecting rights in their climate policies.”

In recognition of this, the UN Human Rights Council has passed a resolution that “stresses that human rights defenders … must be ensured a safe and enabling environment … in recognition of their important role in supporting States to fulfil their obligations under the Paris Agreement [reached at the COP21 climate summit in December 2015].”

Peace Brigades International accompanies environmental defenders and activists in Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico as part of our commitment to protect the environment and prevent further climate breakdown.

For more, please see 5 things to know about human rights and climate change. To read the full report, go to Banking on Climate Change: Fossil Fuel Finance Report 2020.

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