Greenpeace Canada is joining Indigenous communities and people around the globe who are calling on the world’s major banks to stop funding harmful oil pipelines because of the threats they pose to clean water, Indigenous rights, and urgent action to curb climate change.
Protests will be held in a number of countries as part of three Global Days of Action led by Mazaska Talks, a coalition of Indigenous groups calling on banks all over the world to stop financing projects that trample Indigenous rights and desecrate the earth, including the Dakota Access pipeline and new tar sands pipelines: Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion, TransCanada’s Keystone XL, and Enbridge’s Line 3.
Greenpeace Canada is calling on Toronto-Dominion Bank and the Desjardins Group, an association of credit unions, to stop bankrolling tar sands pipelines. TD is a major funder of tar sands pipelines, despite promising its customers that they can bank on its environmental promises. Desjardins has issued a moratorium on new tar sands pipeline funding, but has yet to make this moratorium permanent, despite official requests from First Nations opposed to the pipeline.
Greenpeace offices and volunteers in Victoria, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax and Montreal are participating in activities to draw attention to TD’s and Desjardins’s roles in funding destructive pipelines in solidarity with Mazaska Talks. So far, tens of thousands of Greenpeace supporters have taken action to resist tar sands pipelines and ask banks to stop financing them.
Alex Speers-Roesch, an Oil Campaigner with Greenpeace Canada, said: “Responsible banks don’t put their money into projects that violate Indigenous rights, jeopardize clean water, threaten wildlife, and lock us into dangerous fossil fuel dependency. Contested oil pipelines pose too many risks and face too many hurdles to succeed long-term. Already, some of the world’s biggest banks such as BNP Paribas, ING, and US Bank are stepping away from these projects. It’s time for TD and Desjardins to follow suit.”
Diana Best, a Senior Climate & Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace USA, said: “Greenpeace stands in solidarity with Mazaska Talks and Indigenous and frontline communities around the globe who are resisting dangerous fossil fuel projects. Extreme weather, including hurricanes and cyclones, are already claiming lives all around the world. Our best shot at fighting climate change is through a swift transition to renewable energy. With the risks that pipelines pose, the choice is clear: it’s time for banks to break ties with these destructive pipelines and be part of this transition to a fossil-free future.”
The “Divest the Globe” Global Days of Action kick off today in the Americas, continuing tomorrow in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and concluding in Africa and Asia on Wednesday. Dozens of actions have been registered around the world, including several led by Greenpeace supporters, tens of thousands of whom have taken action to resist tar sands pipelines and ask banks to stop financing them.
These days of action are timed to coincide with the Equator Principles Annual Meeting, where 91 of the world’s largest banks will meet in São Paulo, Brazil, to discuss policies on climate and Indigenous rights, the right to free, prior, and informed consent in particular.
The tar sands are huge deposits of some of the dirtiest oil on Earth located in the heart of Canada. If built, new tar sands pipelines snaking through North America would carry this oil across Indigenous Peoples’ lands without their consent.
Pipeline companies intend to build three new tar sands pipelines in Canada and the United States. Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion Project in Canada is one of the most urgent pipeline threats yet, with construction set to begin imminently. The pipeline would put clean water at risk from spills and cut through Jasper National Park, an iconic, mountainous UNESCO World Heritage Site, en route to the Pacific Ocean, where it would threaten an endangered group of orca whales with extinction.
See here for a full list of banks lending to tar sands pipelines and/or the companies building them, including the 26 major banks which are the primary financiers (in chart below). Twenty of these banks, denoted with an asterisk, are financing all four tar sands pipelines. The banks whose names appear in bold have adopted the Equator Principles. Note that that BNP Paribas has since announced a decision to cease funding tar sands pipelines.