Just a week before delegates gathered in Katowice, Poland for this year’s United Nations climate change conference, Canadian governments introduced four generous new subsidies for the country’s oil and gas industry, writes Patrick DeRochie, program manager, climate and energy at Toronto-based Environmental Defence.
“Oil and gas companies tend to grumble and whine about regulations and policies to cut pollution, but in reality they’re getting special treatment,” DeRochie writes. “Already, the federal government gives billions of dollars in subsidies to oil and gas companies every year. In fact, Canada is the largest provider of government support for oil and gas production per unit of GDP in the G7. The federal government and B.C. governments are handing out C$6.6 billion in public money to build the biggest carbon-polluting project in the province, LNG Canada. Alberta provides even more subsidies than the federal government to oil and gas companies. And Canada spent $4.5 billion of taxpayer money to buy a tar sands pipeline that nobody else wants.”
DeRochie’s inventory of brand new subsidies includes:
- Alberta’s decision to nearly double its Petrochemical Diversification Program, from $600 million to $1.1 billion, while assigning another $500 million to heavy oil upgrading;
- Alberta’s new carbon tax exemption for its oil and gas sector;
- Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s new accelerated investment incentive for oil and gas;
- Notley’s announcement that her province would buy a new fleet of oil trains to get another 120,000 barrels per day of crude oil to market—later followed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement that Ottawa would consider helping with the purchase.
“There is an urgent need to shift public finances away from carbon polluters,” DeRochie writes. “Canadians want their money invested in climate solutions, not the companies that are causing climate change.”