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Mixed media collage of a long pipeline, 3 men in suits stand with crossed arms and many hundred dollar bills

Image illustration by Simone Williamson

press release

Banking on Climate Chaos report highlights need for federal government to end financial industry greenwashing

April 13, 2023

OTTAWA/TRADITIONAL, UNCEDED TERRITORY OF THE ALGONQUIN ANISHNAABEG PEOPLE  — The annual, Banking on Climate Chaos: Fossil Fuel Finance Report revealed that for the first time, a Canadian bank — Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) — was the world’s top financier of fossil fuels.  

Alan Andrews, Ecojustice climate program director, issued the following statement following the release of the Banking on Climate Chaos: Fossil Fuel Finance Report:  

“This report reveals that Canada’s big banks are world leaders in funding the climate crisis. It is no coincidence that Canada is also a global laggard when it comes to climate regulation of its financial industry.  

“Canada’s big five banks, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Toronto Dominion Bank (TD), Bank of Montreal (BMO), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), and Scotiabank, all make the global top twenty of fossil fuel funders since the Paris Agreement was signed. All five have also made commitments to reach “net zero” by 2050 as members of the Net Zero Banking Alliance.  

“Reliance on these voluntary commitments is exposing greenwashing. The federal government needs to regulate to reign in Canada’s big banks and put a stop to rampant greenwashing in the financial sector. Its failure to act on finance is undermining its whole climate agenda. It needs to require the country’s big banks and other financial giants to publish credible climate plans that align their lending and underwriting with Canada’s climate goals — and give regulators and the public the tools they need to hold them to account. 

“Most worryingly, Canadian banks are leading the funding of unconventional fossil fuels — such as tar sands and fracked gas — that pose the gravest risk to both the climate and the financial system. These investments are incompatible with keeping global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees, contaminate local water, air and soil and violate Indigenous rights. 

“The report also reveals the cozy relationship between the big banks and the federal government. Canada’s banks are underwriting fossil fuel projects, like the transmountain pipeline, that are a disaster for both the climate and the Canadian taxpayer.  

“Canada cannot claim to be a climate leader while its banks top the charts of global fossil fuel funders. The science is clear: there is no room for fossil fuel expansion if we are to stand a chance of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees.”