In a protest in downtown Nanaimo today, an environmental group called on big banks to stop funding fossil fuel expansion.
Members of Extinction Rebellion Nanaimo marched to TD Canada Trust branch on Nicol Street on Saturday, Sept. 10, with a model oil derrick that spewed diet cola, meant to represent oil.
Robert Fuller, Extinction Rebellion member, said Canada’s five biggest banks are in the top 20 in the world when it comes to financing fossil fuel expansion. In the past five years, Canada’s biggest banks have invested more than $900 billion in the fossil fuel industry, he said.
“It’s getting to the point where they talk a good game about turning green, but you cannot finance fossil fuels and turn green,” Fuller said.
He said the group has tried contacting corporate headquarters of the big banks to voice concerns.
“We give them a divestment letter each week, which basically explains our position, that they’re financing fossil fuels and investments in pipelines,” said Fuller. “[It] runs against the idea of getting away from fossil fuels and emissions in the air.”
He said they have received a response from TD stating the bank would invest in fossil fuels if companies are invested in “carbon capture” or “getting away from their emissions to a point.”
An employee at the bank said they couldn’t comment, but according to TD’s website, it is the first North American-based bank to become carbon neutral and the first in Canada to announce a climate action plan that outlines net-zero emission targets associated with operating and financing activities by 2050, TD said. The plan is in line with the Paris Agreement, the bank added.
“Climate change is an urgent priority, and as a global financial institution, TD has an important role to play to help accelerate the transition to a net-zero world,” said Bharat Masrani, TD Bank Group group president and CEO.