Oil and gas industry holding Canada back from climate ambition

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Wilderness Committee

VANCOUVER / UNCEDED xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and səlilwətaɬ TERRITORIES — Growing emissions from oil and gas are dragging down Canada once again as its new target for carbon pollution trails international ambition on climate change. 

“Canada is back — to the back of the pack,” said Climate Campaigner Peter McCartney. “And as usual it’s a handful of powerful oil companies undermining our efforts to tackle climate change.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a new 2030 target of 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels at U.S. President Joe Biden’s climate summit this morning. Other industrialized nations like the E.U., the U.K. and the U.S. set substantially higher goals. Environmentalists had asked for a 60 per cent reduction to account for Canada’s outsized role in causing the crisis.

“To be clear, 40 per cent is still a death sentence for hundreds of millions of people across the world,” said McCartney. “It is not consistent with a safe climate. It is not consistent with our fair share. All it is is better than 30 per cent.”

Canada has often used a lack of ambition south of the border as an excuse to stall its own responsibilities. Now that the U.S. is committing to cut emissions at least in half in less than a decade, it’s clear why the federal government won’t follow their lead. Oil and gas emissions in Canada have grown by two-thirds since 2005.

“This government is wedded to the nation’s most polluting industry,” said McCartney. “It bought them a pipeline. It’s giving them billions in new subsidies. It meets with them 4.5 times a day. And the Liberals just can’t bring themselves to reign in oil and gas production when it’s crystal clear that’s what’s necessary.”

The U.S. buys nearly all of Canada’s oil, so it’s possible Biden may end up having to be the one that shuts down the tar sands after all.

“General Motors is committing to sell only electric vehicles by 2035. Canada and the U.S. are in talks to mandate that,” said McCartney. “It appears this government wants to let the market make these tough decisions for them. But that will only leave oil and gas workers and regions in worse shape than if they had an honest plan to wind down fossil fuels.”


For more information, please contact:

Peter McCartney | Climate Campaigner
778-239-1935, peter@wildernesscommittee.org

More from this campaign