Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Global warming's Canadian financiers

A report was released last by week by the Rainforest Action Network entitled "Financing Global Warming: Canadian Banks and Fossil Fuels". Here are some of their findings.

The investments made today by Canadian banks will shape Canada’s carbon footprint for decades to come. The enormous financial commitments made by Canada’s five biggest banks—RBC, TD Bank, Scotiabank, CIBC and BMO—to fossil fuel production, namely oil, gas and coal operations, inextricably links them to the fueling of global climate change. Banks are the lifeblood of the fossil fuel industry...

It is the first report to analyze and quantify the greenhouse gas emissions of seven leading Canadian banks—the aforementioned banks as well as Desjardins and Vancity based on their financing of fossil fuels...

For Canada’s largest banks, operational emissions represent less than one percent of their total contributions to climate change. Though these operational emissions are not trivial—Canadian banks reported more than 500,000 tonnes of operational CO2 emissions in the last year2—more than 99 percent of their overall climate footprint comes from the fossil fuel production they finance...

Canada’s top banks provided more than $155 billion in total corporate financing for fossil fuel extraction in Canada and internationally in 2007. The 625 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from the extraction and burning of these fossil fuels results in a carbon footprint for RBC, TD, Scotiabank, BMO and CIBC that is greater than Canada’s total energy use emissions.
The report also makes a number of recommendations for banks, bank customers, governments and civil society organizations including trade unions. For bank users, they recommend speaking to their banks about getting out of the carbon financing business and to switch their accounts to more climate friendly financial institutions.

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