CALGARY — Two executives from Royal Bank of Canada say financial institutions will need to invest not just in green energy companies, but also in the fossil fuel industry, if Canada is to meet its climate change targets.

RBC Capital Markets CEO Derek Neldner and RBC’s head of ESG and Strategic Initiatives Lindsay Patrick were in Calgary Tuesday for an energy conference.

Neldner said RBC believes it will cost Canada $2 trillion to achieve its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

He said private sector investments and government incentives will be required to get there.

Environmental groups have called on Canada’s big banks to reduce their lending to the oil and gas sector. A report by Rainforest Action Network shows RBC has spent $201 billion between 2016 and 2021 on lending to and underwriting fossil fuel companies.

But Patrick said investing in “green” companies alone won’t take Canada to net-zero. She says there’s growing recognition among banks that they must also lend to oil and gas companies to support their efforts to clean up their operations and reduce, if not eliminate, the sector’s emissions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 20, 2022.

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