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Stop Funding Big Oil Fossil Fuel Subsidies

No More Public Money for Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Key Points

  • Big Oil has long relied on subsidies to ensure their profitability, lining the pockets of executives with public funds. 
  • Canada provides more fossil fuel subsidies per capita than any other G7 nation, even while most Canadians want those subsidies to stop. 
  • Now that they can no longer deny climate science, they’re pivoting to false climate solutions like CCUS, and they’re trying to take public funds along with them.
  • The federal government has a critical opportunity to correct its track record and become a global leader in its efforts to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies.

You and I know that oil and gas CEOs have profited immensely for decades from activities that are fueling the climate crisis and polluting the land and water. Big Oil CEOs are using their influence to extract tax breaks and handouts from the Canadian government.

Add your voice to the tens of thousands demanding that federal government end fossil fuel subsidies. 

Now that fossil fuel CEOs are no longer able to deny climate science, the oil and gas lobby has switched to delay tactics. They are now relying on false solutions like fossil hydrogen and carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) – despite the technology’s decades-long track record of underperformance and failure.

And even if the technology did work, carbon capture would do nothing about the 80 per cent of emissions that come from the actual burning of the fossil fuels that are pumped out of the ground.

Fossil fuel CEOs aren’t interested in climate solutions or providing the supports workers and communities need to transition to a post-carbon economy – it’s about selling out our future to guarantee fossil fuel producers can profit for years to come.

In some cases, the federal government is flat out subsidizing destructive projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and the Coastal GasLink pipeline. These projects violate the rights of Indigenous Peoples, risk toxic spills, and threaten endangered species habitats.  

Because of pressure from coast-to-coast-to-coast, the federal government has made a promise: to eliminate subsidies by the end of 2023. But these promises just don’t go far enough. Yet at the same time, the government has also created massive new subsidies for unproven and ineffective carbon capture technologies like CCUS. Make no mistake, these are still fossil fuel subsidies.

Analysts have long warned that CCUS would be a false, ineffective, and risky ‘solution.’ Rather than moving us away from fossil fuels, it would drive up greenhouse gas emissions. A case in point is Shell’s CCUS facility in Alberta, which is currently emitting more than it captures.

Canada already provides more fossil fuel subsidies than any other G7 country, while most Canadians want these subsidies to stop. A CCUS subsidy will perpetuate fossil fuel expansion at a time when the industry must wind down if we’re to have a livable climate. 

Instead of entertaining pipe dreams like CCUS, the federal government should be focusing on what’s really needed to get us out of the crisis: a just transition.

A new framework to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies

Canada’s much-anticipated Assessment Framework for Fossil Fuel Subsidies has the potential to set an example for the rest of the world – if the framework delivers the highest possible ambition.

It has been over a decade since Canada first committed to ending inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. Instead of fulfilling this promise, the Government of Canada has continued to provide billions of dollars to oil and gas companies year after year. Now, the federal government has a critical opportunity to correct its track record and become a global leader in its efforts to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies.  

Over 100 environmental, health, human rights, and civil society organizations across Canada and around the world are urging the federal government to ensure that the following items are included in the framework:

  1. A robust definition of fossil fuel subsidies
  2. The new assessment framework should put an end to any loopholes that would enable the continuation of fossil fuel subsidies.
  3. Aligning ‘efficiency’ assessment with Canada’s climate commitments 

Alongside the release of the Assessment Framework, the Government of Canada must announce a timeline and plan to phase out public finance. The promises to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and public finance are interlinked and should be implemented together.

Dylan Penner

Dylan Penner

Dylan Penner is a Campaigner at the Council of Canadians

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