FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 22, 2016
Alex Doukas, alex [at] priceofoil [dot] org
David Turnbull, david [at] priceofoil [dot] org
Jolan Bailey, jolan [at] leadnow [dot] org
Oil Change International and Leadnow response to the 2016 Canadian federal budget
In response to the 2016 Canadian federal budget, Oil Change International and Leadnow.ca released the following statements:
Alex Doukas, Senior Campaigner, Oil Change International:
“Today’s budget missed the opportunity to make meaningful cuts to wasteful handouts to some of the wealthiest, most polluting fossil fuel companies on the planet – even announcing new subsidies for a sector that is dragging down the economy and the climate.* These fossil fuel subsidies go to some of the richest companies in the world, and Canadians should not be on the hook to pay for them to clean up their acts.
We need much bolder leadership. Action to incentivize clean energy development and climate action are undermined by continued handouts to the very source of the problem. The government’s next move should be a commitment that all of Canada’s billions in wasteful fossil fuel subsidies will end by 2020, setting a global precedent for climate action on this front.”
Jolan Bailey, National Organizer, Leadnow:
“In this budget, the government has taken some positive steps to building a 100% clean energy economy by 2050. Unfortunately, they’re undermining their own commitments by including a decade of continued subsidies for new fossil fuel infrastructure projects.”
*Pg 154: “Budget 2016 proposes to provide $50 million over two years, starting in 2016–17, to Natural Resources Canada to invest in technologies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector.” Using taxpayer money to help oil and gas producers reduce their emissions takes that responsibility off of producers, and places it on taxpayers.This amounts to a subsidy, particularly where fossil fuel producers are already required to meet emissions limits or pay for some or all of their pollution. It meets the World Trade Organisation’s definition of a subsidy, agreed by 153 countries, and also meets the narrower International Energy Agency definition of an energy subsidy: “[…]any government action that concerns primarily the energy sector that lowers the cost of energy production[…]”.
A 2015 report released by Oil Change International and the UK-based Overseas Development Institute, with contributions by the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s Global Subsidies Initiative, found that Canada provides USD $1.6 billion (CAD $1.8 billion) in federal subsidies every year to fossil fuel producers. On top of this, Export Development Canada – wholly owned by the government – provides as much as CAD $6 billion per year for dirty energy producers to continue fueling the climate crisis at home and abroad. In addition, just weeks ago, Export Development Canada offered a CAD $750 million bailout to fossil fuel companies.
Yesterday, over 4600 Canadians submitted comments to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, call for an end to these handouts.