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A report from a coalition of environmental groups shows that Royal Bank of Canada RY-T was the biggest fossil fuel financier in the world last year after providing over US$42-billion in funding.

The annual Banking on Climate Chaos report shows the bank’s funding between 2016 and 2021 put it as the fifth-largest fossil fuel funder but 2022 was the first year it provided the most money.

According to the data, Bank of Nova Scotia BNS-T ranked ninth globally last year with US$29.5-billion in funding and Toronto-Dominion Bank TD-T was just behind it at about US$29-billion, while Bank of Montreal BMO-T ranked 15th and CIBC CM-T 16th at US$19.3-billion and US$17.9-billion respectively.

At RBC’s annual shareholder meeting last week, chief executive Dave McKay emphasized the importance of energy security and an orderly transition away from fossil fuel funding as he defended the bank’s funding and climate record.

Environmental advocates have been pushing banks to phase out fossil fuel funding as a way to make it harder to build new oil and gas projects and to accelerate the transition to net zero emissions.

Greenpeace Canada senior energy strategist Keith Stewart said in a statement that RBC becoming the world’s largest fossil fuel funder shows bankers can’t be trusted to do the right thing on climate change, so they need to be regulated to do so.

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