Recently, CEOs from five of the biggest oil and gas companies in Canada were called to parliament to testify about their failure to bring greenhouse gas emissions down, despite billions of dollars in annual profits. Executives from Suncor, Enbridge, Cenovus, Shell, and Imperial Oil were questioned by MPs on the Environment and Sustainable Development Committee. We were there in Ottawa to watch the meeting and call out Big Oil’s Climate Villains on their greenwashing.

Jun 6, 2024. Photo: Environmental Defence Canada

Here are the top 5 things we saw:

  1. Big Oil’s False Claims on Emissions:

Oil and gas companies don’t want you to know that the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas continues to rise. All the CEOs tried to evade this fact and the CEO of Cenovus even denied it, falsely claiming emissions peaked in 2017. However, the reality is that the oil and gas sector is the biggest source of climate pollution in Canada, at 31% of the country’s total emissions, and their emissions keep increasing.

2. Greenwashing and Lobbying Against Climate Policies:

Big Oil spends millions on ads to appear environmentally friendly while lobbying against effective climate policies. During the hearing, they opposed regulations, including the government’s proposed cap on oil and gas emissions, that would ensure they actually decrease their pollution. While CEOs like Cenovus’ Mr. McKenzie acknowledged the benefits of Canada’s strong environmental regulations; he failed to include that his company lobbies against those kinds of regulations. Cenovus lobbied the government 17 times this March alone. These companies’ track record shows they can’t be trusted to bring down emissions out of the goodness in their hearts – we need an emissions cap, and they continue to fight it. 

3. High Salaries, Low Accountability:

MPs pointed out the disconnect between the CEOs sky-high compensation amidst their companies’ layoffs, environmental violations, and soaring emissions. People in Canada are struggling with how unaffordable the basics like rent and food have become, but did you know that oil and gas companies’ profiteering is fueling inflation? Research released last year shows that 25 cents of every inflationary dollar from the two years prior went to oil and gas profits. But the Big Oil CEOs conveyed that they feel entitled to pollute the planet for their profit. Suncor’s Mr. Kruger, who took home $36.8 million last year, denied any responsibility for the climate crisis.

4. Promoting the false solution of Carbon Capture Technology:

The CEOs confidently promoted carbon capture as a path to lowering their emissions during the meeting, but have admitted privately to other government officials that the technology isn’t ready or reliable, and is too expensive. This tactic is used to justify continued fossil fuel production and expansion and to delay meaningful climate progress. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said that CCS cannot be used to maintain the status quo. “Continuing with business-as-usual for oil & gas while hoping a vast deployment of carbon capture will cut the emissions is fantasy,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol said in late November 2023. 

5. Your Involvement Matters

Your voice is crucial in the fight against climate change! We saw that when politicians were encouraged to ask tough questions, many MPs stepped up. By staying informed and demanding accountability, you can help ensure that Big Oil is held responsible for its actions. Join us in advocating for stronger pollution regulations and other climate solutions. Together, we can make a difference!

We were encouraged to see the members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development (ENVI) call Big Oil to testify and challenge their greenwashing claims. Dedication to uncovering the truth and prioritizing the environment over corporate interests is commendable. Bringing these Climate Villains to testify was a step toward greater accountability, but it can’t end here. We need to stop big oil and force the fossil fuel sector to end its reckless polluting. 


Red button that says "take action"


PS. Did you know we’ve created Climate Villains profiles for the heads of these companies? To learn more about why those in charge of these companies are climate villains, check out the pages on Imperial Oil’s CEO Brad Corson, Cenovus’s Executive Chair Alex Pourbaix, Shell Canada’s President Susannah Pierce, Enbridge’s CEO Greg Ebel, and Suncor’s CEO Richard Kruger