Canada won’t stop Crown corporations from investing in fossil fuels any time soon

(Peterborough Examiner, 18 October 2021) The federal government has no plans to immediately stop Crown corporations from financing fossil fuel companies, but it’s not ruling out pushing them to reduce those supports more quickly, says Canada’s environment minister. The issue of public financing for oil and gas companies is expected to be on the agenda at the next major world summit on climate change this month, where countries that signed the 2016 Paris Agreement — including Canada — are under pressure to increase efforts to reduce their annual greenhouse gas emissions. A major report from leading scientists this summer prompted the United Nations’ secretary general to herald the “death knell” for fossil fuels that have driven emissions for decades. In an interview Friday, federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson told the Star that Crown institutions like Export Development Canada (EDC) are already committed to “net-zero” emissions — when nature or technology can remove remaining greenhouse gas pollution from the air — by 2050. Big money is in play here. EDC, the government’s export credit agency, says it provided financing and insurance that helped facilitate $62 billion in business for Canadian oil and gas companies from 2015 to 2020. And the board that invests the Canada Pension Plan’s $500-billion pool of money says it had about $17.6 billion invested with fossil fuel producers around the world as of March 2021.