Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are still rising, although they are still lower than pre-COVID levels. Some industries however, such as electricity, are reducing their emissions, the pollution from the production of oil and gas is increasing.

Climate change is undoubtedly here. People are scared and looking for answers. A vast majority of people in Canada are calling on the federal government to urgently put in place the oil and gas emissions cap to prevent the climate crisis from getting worse.

Last week, more than 6000 people were evacuated from Fort McMurray. The week before, 4000 people had to leave Fort Nelson, BC.  People affected by these wildfires need unwavering support from our federal and provincial governments. To help safeguard communities across Canada from the same dangers, we need to confront why this country is on the doorstep of yet another catastrophic wildfire season.

GHG emissions are causing climate change. In Canada, the largest source of climate change causing pollution is the oil and gas industry, now accounting for 31 per cent of Canada’s GHG emissions. Canada can’t meet its responsibility for stopping global climate change and safeguarding our future without reducing oil and gas pollution.

The proposed oil and gas emissions cap can help fulfill this goal. The emissions cap was first announced in 2021 by Prime Minister Trudeau. More than two years later, the rules are still not in place. The draft regulations, which is a critical first step in enforcing the oil and gas emissions cap, have still not been published. Following that, the federal government would still need to finalize the regulations and enforce the emissions cap to start reducing oil and gas emissions. We are running out of time.

The Government of Canada released a framework for the emissions cap in December 2023. This framework, which serves as a roadmap for how the federal government would develop this policy, included a slow timeline for enforcement and contained major loopholes for the oil and gas industry to take advantage of. In response, over 200 academics sent a letter to the federal government to reconsider this approach and develop a stronger policy that holds the oil and gas industry accountable.

As people in Canada continue to deal with climate disasters which threaten their lives, governments at all levels must do everything in their power to support them. At the same time, it is equally as important that the federal government look at the devastating impacts of climate change and enforce emissions reducing policies, such as the oil and gas emissions cap, immediately. This is the only way to stop the climate crisis from getting any worse.

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