November 29, 2018 (MONTRÉAL) – Circus artists surrounded by tens of citizens are currently demonstrating at Place Riopelle in Montreal, in front of the head office of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), to illustrate “the impossible balance” between maintaining investments in the production and transportation of fossil fuels and the Caisse’s desire to become more involved in the ecological transition.
This “impossible balance” is illustrated by the tightrope walkers Amanda Dandelion and Alejandro Barrios who are trying to balance on a red line drawn on the snow while holding a barrel of oil and the planet Earth at the ends of a wooden pendulum.
According to the latest information available, the CDPQ’s investments in companies related to the production and transportation of oil and gas reached $ 18.5 billion in 2017. In addition, the Caisse and the French energy company Engie announced in October their intention to invest $ 9 billion in a 4,500 km pipeline system in Brazil.
However, this morning, on the eve of the opening of the G-20 Summit in Argentina , CDQP President and CEO Michael Sabia delivered an address to institutional investors in Buenos Aires to underscore the importance of financing low-carbon infrastructure. The coalition welcomes these words especially when the 2016 GHG Inventory for Quebec published just this morning concluded that our emissions have gone up instead of being reduced.
Acknowledging the Caisse’s desire to become a leader in the new low-carbon economy, representatives of the Sortons la Caisse du Carbone coalition gave Maxime Chagnon, CDPQ’s Director of Communications and Public Affairs, a copy framed, and ready to be signed, of the Universal Citizens’ Declaration of Climate Emergency and a pen, so that the management of the CDPQ assesses the possibility of adopting it.
While more than 238,000 Quebeckers have already signed the pact for the transition, the demand for divestment of Sortons la Caisse du carbone received the direct support of 14,200 citizens, as well as numerous unions representing more than 600,000 workers in Quebec.
Moreover, during the last provincial election, three of the five political parties presenting candidates in almost all constituencies in Quebec positioned themselves in favor of a full divestiture of fossil fuels (the Parti Québécois, Québec Solidaire and the Green Party of Quebec). The Coalition Avenir Québec has given its very clear support to the progressive reduction of investments in the fossil energy sector, without requiring it to be complete.
Elsewhere in the world, nearly 1,000 institutions in 76 countries representing over $ 7.18 trillion in assets under management have already committed to divesting from fossil fuels.
“We salute the Caisse’s leadership, but the latest scientific data on the climate forces us to accelerate the pace of change. Even though the divestment of fossil fuels had a limited impact on total emissions, it would send a clear signal that the CDPQ will not mortgage our future. ” -Diego Creimer, spokesperson for the David Suzuki Foundation.
“Since the October release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, the concern has turned into a sense of urgency. We have no choice: it is time to move from words to action now and the Caisse must be part of the solution, not the problem. “- Melanie Busby, Mobilisation environnement Ahuntsic-Cartierville (MEAC).
“As the largest second pension fund in the country, The Caisse is a huge influence, and with that comes the responsibility of being exemplary and to listen to science. Climate science is today very clear: the planet has got to halve its greenhouse emissions by 2030 in order to limit global warming to à 1,5° C in order to avoid more catastrophic climate events. If the Caisse wants to play a real part in fighting climate change, it must create and respect a solid plan with ambitious objectives leading to a rapid and complete divestment from fossil fuels, including pipelines”, explained Patrick Bonin, Climate & Energy campaigner with Greenpeace Canada.
“The Caisse is on the wrong track if it continues to support an obsolete business model, which is based on fossil fuels. This model is unfair to communities whose lands are sacrificed and unfair to future generations whose lives are compromised for short-term financial gain. The irony is that, although all Quebecers will benefit from the Caisse’s investments through pensions, this money simultaneously leads to the degradation of our climate, of our planet and of the most vulnerable people. “- Nicolas Chevalier, Member of Climate Justice Montreal
For more information:
Loujain Kurdi, Greenpeace Canada, 514-577-6657 [email protected]
Diego Creimer, David Suzuki Foundation, 514-999-6743 [email protected]