For Immediate Release: December 18, 2018
Ottawa, Ont. – Today Canada announced another massive backslide on its longstanding commitment to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. The federal government needs to stop giving public-backed financing for oil and gas companies and get serious about its pledge to rapidly reduce carbon pollution.
Today’s announcement of over $1.6 billion in new grants, loans and financial supports for oil and gas companies caps off a year of irresponsible government handouts to support an industry whose growth is incompatible with Canada’s climate targets. Already in 2018, the federal government has showered the oil and gas sector with public money, including:
- Billions in tax breaks, fiscal supports and direct grants that make Canada the largest provider of government support for oil and gas production per unit of GDP in the G7;
- A new Accelerated Investment Incentive that allows oil and gas companies to immediately write off the full costs of new machinery and equipment;
- $275 million in infrastructure support and $1 billion in tariff exemptions for a massive new export facility for fracked gas in British Columbia;
- $4.5 billion to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline and proposed expansion, which nobody else wanted because it faces intractable legal and regulatory challenges and is already losing money.
This massive fiscal support for oil and gas is particularly problematic considering some companies are making record profits. In 2017, the aggregate gross profits of the Big Five oil sands producers were $46.6 billion.
At COP24 in Katowice, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna announced that Canada would increase the ambition of its targets to cut carbon pollution. Less than two weeks later, her Cabinet colleagues, Minister of Natural Resources Amarjeet Sohi and Minister of International Trade Diversification Jim Carr, are using public money to make Canada’s already-weak targets even harder to achieve.
Expanding oil and gas production is incompatible with the ambition needed to cut carbon pollution rapidly enough to avoid dangerous global warming.
We know that workers, families and communities in Alberta and elsewhere are struggling and anxious about their future. But Canada must stop propping up an industry whose continued growth is inconsistent with a safe climate and shift public money to solutions that support those workers and communities and create new jobs and opportunities in the low-carbon economy.
ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.
For more information, or media requests, please contact:
Barbara Hayes, Environmental Defence; email@example.com