Setting the record straight on the day’s top anti-oil and gas media stories
ACTIVIST CLAIM: Quebec public pension fund turns its back on Canadian oil claiming it will help the climate.
THE FACTS: Caisse de depot’s decision to divest from Canadian energy will have the unintended effect of giving less responsible foreign producers a boost in market share.
Here are some facts and sources to have a reasoned conversation about divestment:
- Divesting from responsible oil and gas producers like Canada will not change the need for growing energy demand. What it will do is shift the suppliers of energy to countries that are more polluting, less transparent, less sensitive to societal pressures, and less committed to emissions reductions.
- Caisse de dépôt argues that they will now invest more in decarbonization, but ignores that the oil and gas industry is already transforming into a zero-emissions industry. Carbon capture technology is being heavily invested in and this report by the Thunderbird School of Global Management from Arizona State University notes that revenue for that industry could hit $1.1 trillion by 2030.
- Investment fund managers are telling investors to be wary of cleantech disruptor companies since they still rely heavily on government subsidies to turn a profit. They’re saying that staying in oil and gas stocks can secure portfolios. If this is true, Caisse de depot may end up losing money for its customers.
- Greenpeace Canada activist Keith Stewart who is interviewed in this article argues that this move will put pressure on Canadian banks to divest from the oil and gas industry. He cites a study done by ENGOs earlier this year that tracked Canadian bank investments in the sector and argues private sector needs to do more to invest in green energy.
It is interesting to note that Canada’s Big 5 banks have committed to $1.25 trillion in “green” financing over the next decade while also investing in responsible Canadian energy.
- Canada’s oil and gas industry also invests the most of any other industry in the expansion of clean tech to produce reliable energy while lowering environmental impacts. Investing in Canadian oil and gas means investing in responsible energy.
- Divesting from oil and gas is also bad for Canada’s Indigenous communities. According to PetroLMI, 13,900 self-identified Indigenous Peoples were directly employed in the oil and gas industry and these high-paying jobs help bring economic benefits back to their communities.
Stories that get it right
Commentary: Canada’s ‘Just Transition’ exercise is a horrible idea for Indigenous communities – Joseph Quesnel
As the end of the consultation period on the government’s proposed “Just Transition”, Indigenous communities may not have had enough time to properly consult with the government considering there was an election for most of the consultation period. And Indigenous groups could have a lot to lose during this energy transition. Ottawa needs to start listening to Indigenous communities that are warning them about the devastating consequences of limiting resource development on their communities.