Campaigners from the divestment movement in Canada are pushing for investors to ditch their high-carbon energy stocks because of their impact on climate change.
Activists want to “erode the social licence of the fossil fuel industry”, Cameron Fenton, national director of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition (CYCC) said.
Campaign groups have targeted Canada over the past months because of the controversial tar sands oil extraction taking place in the country, which is much more polluting than conventional oil.
Divestment from fossil fuels became a hot topic in in the country earlier this month, when Vancouver city council asked its pension funds to align its investment strategy with the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment.
The council had reviewed the fund’s 2011 investment report, which contained several shares in oil and gas companies, including two firms involved in pipeline projects in British Columbia.
Councillor Andrea Reime argued that the construction of the pipelines is in contrast with the aim of the city to be “fossil fuel free by 2050”.
Vancouver has been chosen by activists as the first place to air divestment calls, in an effort to raise awareness on the issue of investment in oil and gas companies.
The events in Canada follow comments from Drew Faust, president of Harvard University in the neighbouring US, who said that fossil fuel divestment was not the best solution to address climate challenges.
Students have criticised the university’s ‘false neutrality’, while the mayor of Seattle replied to Faust, arguing that fighting climate change was a moral obligation.