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Guilbeault clean electricity regulations

Keep fossil fuels out of Canada’s clean energy rules

The federal government has released the first draft of its long-awaited regulations on clean electricity – important regulations that bring us one step closer to decarbonizing our electricity grid, but which also contain serious loopholes.

Most notably, the draft Clean Electricity Regulations still allow for further gas-fired electricity generation if plants build out carbon capture infrastructure. This could undermine the timeline of reaching 100 per cent emissions-free electricity by 2035, which the Council of Canadians has been advocating for alongside partners like the David Suzuki Foundation.

The fingerprints of the fossil fuel industry and recalcitrant Canadian premiers are evident in this loophole. Doug Ford has stated that Ontario will move forward with the construction of natural gas-fired power plants, and Saskatchewan is following suit. And, last week, Alberta placed a moratorium on renewable energy projects that would generate over 1 megawatt of electricity.

Continued reliance on fossil-fueled electricity directly contradicts the name and purpose of the Clean Electricity Regulations. Allowing natural gas-fired power generation abetted by carbon capture and storage (CCS) is not a climate solution. Rather, it prolongs our dependence on fossil fuels and delays the necessary transition away from them.

The David Suzuki Foundation has done modelling that shows the feasibility of transitioning to 100 per cent zero-emissions electricity by 2035. This modelling shows that this transition is possible without new hydroelectricity or nuclear generation, and does not require immature and unproven carbon capture, utilization, and storage technologies. What’s more, research shows that Canadians would spend 12 per cent less on energy by 2050 than we do today if we switch to clean electricity. 100% emissions-free electricity by 2035 is not only possible, it’s more affordable.

This summer, we’ve also seen the importance of reducing our emissions. The last few months have shown us that the impacts of the climate crisis, including fires, floods, droughts and the destruction and death associated with climate change, are just going to continue to get worse. It’s time for Canada to get serious about a transition away from fossil fuels, and the draft Clean Electricity Regulations are an obvious place for that transition to happen.

Today’s announcement takes us one step closer to reducing our emissions and ensuring affordable and reliant electricity. But now we have to work together to strengthen these regulations.

The government is opening a consultation process on its draft regulations beginning on August 19th. This is our opportunity to make sure the rules are in the service of health, climate, and jobs benefits for all – not industry interests – and that they leave no room for any further fossil fuel electricity generation.

Make your voice heard in support of strong Clean Electricity Regulations! Hit the subscribe button below and we’ll be in touch around submitting feedback to strengthen the regulation.

Chris Kruszewski

Chris Kruszewski

Chris Kruszewski is a Climate and Social Justice Campaigner at the Council of Canadians

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