A country that loves extracting fossil fuels has begun to clean up its tax rebates for the destructive oil and gas industry. Canada spent over $15 BILLION on subsidies for the oil and gas sector in 2021 alone, which isn’t just bad it’s literally funding the destruction of the planet. Thankfully the government has figured out that destroying the land for short term profit isn’t a good idea when the industry profiting kills everything it touches.
Starting this year the Canadian government will begin the long process of cutting tax loopholes and subsidies for oil and gas, which generate billions in profits. Why fund an industry that is insanely profitable that harms people and the planet?
Burning fossil fuels is one of the main drivers of climate change, so ending public spending that supports the industry is crucial. Ending fossil fuel subsidies frees up those funds to support thingslike renewable energy and electrification. Clean energy is of paramount importance as the world is under pressure to slash greenhouse gas emissions more than 40 per cent by the end of the decade.
“Moving forward, every subsidy that the government would want to grant to the oil and gas sector would have to go through this filter — any department of the federal government, whether it’s finance, international trade, natural resources — to ensure that we do not give federal dollars to support the production of oil and gas or coal,” said Guilbeault. “This is a fundamental shift from what we’ve done in this country for decades.”
The people who make decisions to continue us on a path of climate catastrophe have names and addresses. We need to shame people who are actively engage in profiteering off of killing every living thing on the planet, and that’s exactly what Environmental Defence has started to do. They have created a list of the Canada’s climate villains – those in positions of power that delay climate action and/or encouraging more environmental destruction. The good news about this is that Canadians who care about the climate are upping their game to call out those that are profiting from our demise. The more climate action we take the better – we only have one planet so let’s not burn it down!
Canada’s climate villains:
Canada’s Oil and Gas industry has long been the biggest barrier to climate action. Despite the harmful impacts that people in Canada and around the world are suffering daily from the warming climate and lack of action, the oil and gas industry continues to spew pollution and rake in record profits and receive billions in government subsidies. We are done taking the blame as individuals. The time to expose the true climate villains is now!
The wildfires burning from coast to coast in Canada have Canadians worried about their livelihood, neighbours, and the planet itself. Finding good news in fires is tough, but in the context of the climate crisis knowledge about to fight fire is good news. The best way to stop wildfires is to prevent them from happening in the first place, and that means eliminating all fossil fuel emissions. Researchers continue to connect the extreme weather events the planet has been experiencing to industry actions.
If we’re to avoid more extreme wildfires then we need to act now, and perhaps we’ll save brave politicians in the future literally make certain companies pay for the damage they wrought.
“Last year, there were a number of studies that directly attributed the increase in emissions and associated climate warming with the massive heat waves that hit Europe,” said Baltzer, the Canada Research Chair in Forests and Global Change.
“I think we’re increasingly seeing scientists make stronger statements, which we need to be doing — stronger statements about the fact that, yes, these changes in climate are human-caused and they are driving these massive catastrophes that we’re seeing around the world.”
Baltzer, who was also not involved in the study, said the findings aren’t surprising, given previous research.
But she said the data helps draw links between previous research and the emissions from the world’s largest fossil fuel companies. “It’s really important to demonstrate those links.”
The Canadian tar sands contribute little to Canada’s economy yet it’s environmental destruction is known internationally. Despite this, the Canadian commitment to killing the planet by exploiting the tar sands is offensive and has held back green policies. Why does this happen?
SHARE has looked into how oil and gas companies lobby Canadian governments to permit their profiteering from planetary destruction. The greenwashing by tar sands companies is used to make it look like they are respecting the environment, this work by SHARE shows that we can’t trust them. This is good news because now we know how oil and gas advocate behind the scenes and we can prevent it.
While at first these commitments seem promising, a second lookreveals a less-than-rosy picture of the role of Canadian oil and gas companies in relation to Canada’s climate targets, regulations and the road map to net zero. The most important work any company could do right now is commit to — then get to work on — reducing emissions in absolute terms. However, there are other important ways the oilpatch impacts climate action on a national and global scale. One of these is the extent to which its government relations, or “lobbying” activities, do or do not align with the climate actions Canada must undertake to prevent the worst impacts of climate change from wreaking havoc on our planet.
People who rely on unsustainable energy sources tend to complain about the price of their energy (despite the subsidies they receive). We need to stop listening to those people who only want the dangerous status quo to continue. The price of fossil fuels have increased this year for a few reasons, with the price not being reflective of market costs due to government intervention.
In order to advert climate destruction we need to encourage politicians to not let the price of gas decline.
First, consumers will not accept high prices if it means high profits for fossil fuel companies. Maintaining high prices for consumers must be complemented by a radical overhaul of the taxation regime facing fossil fuel companies, not justone-off windfall taxes. Those taxes would maintain high consumer prices even though the fossil fuel companies wouldn’t actually receive very much—enough to cover reasonable costs, but not enough to invest in further fossil fuel production. As the International Energy Agency has pointed out, to achievenet zero by 2050, the amount of investment needed in new oil and gas production is zero.
Second, consumers will be much more willing to accept higher prices for fossil fuels if the additional tax they pay is returned to citizens as an equal carbon grant. Alaska has done something similar, putting a share of oil revenues into a “permanent fund” which it then distributes through a cheque to every household each year (though this approach can go wrong—in Alaska politicians ended upcutting public servicesto maintain payments from the state fund).