Some of the world’s largest financial institutions have stopped putting their money behind oil production in the Canadian province of Alberta, home to one of the world’s most extensive, and also dirtiest, oil reserves.
In December, the insurance giant The Hartford said it would stop insuring or investing in oil production in the province, just weeks after Sweden’s central bank said it would stop holding Alberta’s bonds. And on Wednesday BlackRock, the worlds largest asset manager, said that one of its fast-growing green-oriented funds would stop investing in companies that get revenue from the Alberta oil sands.
They are the latest in a flood of banks, pension funds and global investment houses starting to pull away from fossil-fuel investments amid growing pressure to show they are doing something to fight climate change.
“If you look at how destructive oil sands can be, there’s a very strong rationale,” Armando Senra, head of BlackRock’s iShares Americas funds, said in an interview, saying that Alberta’s oil fields, along with coal, are “the worst offenders, if you want, from a climate perspective.”Jason Kenney has lashed back, saying that if the financial giants boycott bitumen, why he'll just boycott them right back. Apparently nobody much cares about Jason's threats. The silly bugger's broke. They're not.
The oil sands have long been a target of environmentalists’ ire. But in 2017, the campaign against them shifted to the world of finance. That summer, the largest pension fund in Sweden, AP7, said it had divested from TransCanada, the company building Keystone XL, a pipeline to carry crude from the oil sands to the United States.
Other international lenders followed, announcing they would divest not only from pipelines but from oil-sands extraction projects as well. They include BNP Paribas Group and Société Générale of France, and Norway’s sovereign wealth fund.
It wasn’t just financing that suddenly seemed at risk. Some of the world’s largest insurance companies, including AXA, Swiss RE and Zurich Insurance, announced they would stop providing coverage to projects in the oil sands, which are sometimes referred to as tar sands, as well as no longer investing money in those projects.
In December, the American insurer The Hartford said it would no longer insure or invest in companies that get more than a quarter of their revenue from oil sands or thermal coal mining. “We selected coal and tar sands because they have been identified as leading contributors to carbon emissions,” said David Robinson, the company’s general counsel.Does that mean bitumen really isn't "just oil"? But wait, it's "ethical" oil. Ezra Levant says so.
But what about Jason's massive tailing ponds? If Athabasca goes down who is going to pay for the cleanup? The same people who'll wind up paying for it even if Athabasca doesn't go down - taxpayers. Justin hasn't got that kind of money. Jason doesn't have that kind of money. In case you're wondering, as of right now the total volume of those toxic tailings is 1.54 trillion litres.