New report: Resisting Corporate Colonialism, Why We Must Stop EACOP Now

Tuesday May 31, 2022

New case study unravels financial web between primary backer of EACOP, French company TotalEnergies, North American pension funds, and the Royal Bank of Canada.

(TURTLE ISLAND LANDS / SO-CALLED UNITED STATES, UNCEDED ANCESTRAL HOMELANDS OF THOUSANDS OF INDIGENOUS TRIBES) -- A new case study released by Stand.earth and the StopEACOP coalition, Resisting Corporate Colonialism, Why we must stop EACOP Now, reveals the monetary ties between the primary backers of the pipeline and financial institutions across the world: including major North American pension funds and the Royal Bank of Canada. 

Full U.S. Pensions report is here.

Full RBC report is here.

The case study highlights the 1,443 km / 897 mile East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), proposed to run from Kabaale, Uganda to the northeastern coast of Tanzania. Findings reveal the pipeline is incompatible with a climate-safe future, endangers East African communities, and threatens our economy as we transition off fossil fuels.

“EACOP is corporate colonialism in action. If it ever sees the light of day, this largest-ever crude oil pipeline risks disastrous consequences for local communities, for wildlife, and for the entire planet,” said Omar Elmawi, coordinator of #StopEACOP. “Now, as banks and asset managers cut ties with TotalEnergies over EACOP concerns, Royal Bank of Canada and North American pensions must divest from this disaster – or sink with it. Together, the community-led, global movement to #StopEACOP is turning our vision of a sustainable energy world into reality.”

Just 15 U.S. pension and permanent funds have over $1 billion invested in Total energy and CNOOC, the corporations behind the EACOP pipeline. 

RBC is Canada’s #1 fossil bank, and the fifth worst offender in the world, bankrolling coal, oil, and gas to the tune of $262 billion and counting since the Paris agreement was signed in 2016. In early 2022, RBC held over 520,000 shares in TotalEnergies, worth USD $26.1 million, more than USD $10 million, and USD $1.45 billion in lending and underwriting. 

The case study reveals six North American banks and asset managers, including Chase and BlackRock, hold $19.3 billion in TotalEnergies. In the last few weeks alone, Deutsche Bank and a handful of North American banks announced they would not directly fund EACOP. Yet many of these banks still hold shares in TotalEnergies & companies behind this pipeline.

As devastating climate impacts unfold around the world, and Eastern Africa faces environmental degradation, widespread community displacement, and climate injustice, North American investors are watching their holdings rise. Between 2016 and 2019, G20 countries provided $47 billion in public financing for fossil fuels in Africa – 3.7 times the amount invested in renewable energy sources. 

“By investing in TotalEnergies, financial institutions around the world are complicit in EACOP’s destruction and enabling climate chaos,” said Amy Gray, Stand.earth Senior Climate Finance Strategist. “For pension funds in North America and Canadian banks like RBC to actually live up to their climate rhetoric, they must join their peers who have already divested from this toxic project, and defund all fossil fuels. The stakes have never been higher.”

Behind statistics are real people – millions whose lives and livelihoods are endangered by this deeply flawed project. It would also displace about 118,000 people across Uganda and Tanzania, endangering the region’s unique ecosystems, wetlands, wildlife, fresh water, and food that support millions of Africans. 

Those behind EACOP claim the project will energize local economies, yet the majority of the proposed oil and gas pipeline projects in Africa are intended for export, rather than addressing local energy access. In contrast, renewable energy creates 2-5 times more jobs than fossil fuels, per dollar invested. Green investments such as climate adaptation, public transit, conservation agriculture, and energy-efficient building retrofits provide five to 25 times more jobs than fossil fuel extraction and export projects.

A growing list of insurance companies and major commercial banks — including Barclays, HSBC, ANZ, Credit Suisse, and more – have ruled out financial support for EACOP. As part of the powerful movement to stop the money pipeline between financial institutions and fossil fuels, over one million people are demanding we stop this deadly pipeline.

To limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and curb the worst impacts of climate chaos we can’t develop any new oil and gas projects — in Africa, or anywhere. Now communities are calling on North American pension funds and Royal Bank of Canada to divest from TotalEnergies and CNOOC, and their partners and subsidiaries. Instead of bankrolling billions in destructive fossil fuel projects like EACOP, financial institutions must support a swift, just transition to clean energy projects and infrastructure. 

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