Activists storm Canada finance minister's office demanding climate laws for banks

(Reuters, 15 Feb 2024) Climate activists barged into Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland's Toronto office on Thursday demanding the government announce climate-related regulation for banks in its 2024 budget.

Greenpeace activists wearing blue jumpsuits and carrying sleeping bags staged a sit-in protest in Freeland's office, while the minister was not in her office. Greenpeace Canada's senior energy strategist Keith Stewart said in a letter addressed to Freeland that the organization is concerned that the federal government is delaying or rolling back long-promised climate policies and not advancing new ones to achieve the Liberal government's 2050 net zero goals.

Freeland's schedule that shows she is holding a series of pre-budget meetings in Toronto. Her office was not immediately available for comment. The letter also demanded no more delays or "watering down of the regulations" related to oil and gas emissions and the phase-out of fossil fuel-powered cars and light trucks by 2035.

Canada's largest banks have been accused of "greenwashing" by some environmental groups and investors who say initiatives like sustainability-linked financing (SLF) are merely used for pretence of a move towards a lower carbon footprint.

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Reuters, 15 Feb 2024: Activists storm Canada finance minister's office demanding climate laws for banks