Statement from Julia Levin, Associate Director, National Climate

Dubai, UAE – Today at COP28 Canada joined eight other countries in signing a Joint Ministerial Statement on Fossil Fuel Subsidies, to address inaction on a 14 year old commitment to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. 

“Canada and its allies have been talking about the need to end fossil fuel subsidies for 14 years. How much longer will we have to keep putting up with empty promises, while our governments continue to funnel tens of billions of public dollars towards the wealthy oil and gas companies whose activities are fueling climate breakdown? Communities across Canada, already devastated by this year’s climate disasters, cannot afford to wait another year.

COP28 must deliver on energy and equity. Countries must agree to phase out fossil fuels, and wealthy countries like Canada must pay their fair share. Canada cannot just end fossil fuel subsidies: the government must redirect that money to address the needs of the Global South as countries transition off of fossil fuels.”

The statement commits countries to increased transparency by publishing inventories which include both direct and indirect subsidies – something Canada has still not done. It also commits countries to developing national strategies for eliminating this support with accelerated timelines and investing in clean growth aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Signatories will set up an international dialogue which will be held yearly at COP meetings.

The Government of Canada has made progress in eliminating some fossil fuel subsidies and international public financing. However, the majority of the financial support provided by the government is in the form of public financing to domestic oil and gas companies. Despite committing to end this support in 2021, the Government of Canada has made no progress, other than a far off promise to develop a plan a year from now.   

Background Information:

  • Other signatories include the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Spain, Antigua and Barbuda, Austria and France.
  • Last year, the Government of Canada provided over CAD $20 billion in public financing to oil and gas companies, much of it to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. So far this year the Government of Canada has provided nearly CAD $13 billion in subsidies and other financial supports to oil and gas companies in Canada. 
  • The Government of Canada ended most international public financing provided by Export Development Canada in December 2022. The federal government also introduced new rules ending inefficient fossil fuel subsidies in July 2023. However the majority of the financial support provided by the Government of Canada is in the form of public financing for domestic oil and gas projects, provided through Export Development Canada. Though the Government of Canada has made a commitment to end this public financing, the timeline – fall 2024 – is not ambitious enough.
  • Last week at COP28 Export Development Canada helped launch a new Net Zero Export Credit Agencies Alliances. 
  • Earlier this month Minister Freeland violated the government’s own rules by introducing a loophole into the carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) investment tax credit which will result in subsidies for projects that expand oil and gas production, which is incompatible with achieving climate stabilization. 

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

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For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Alex Ross, Environmental Defence,