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The Canadian federal government has established a framework for revoking what are deemed to be inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels, but fell short of climate activists’ expectations, and failed to put a dollar amount on the subsidies to be eliminated.
The framework represents the commitment of Canada–the world’s fourth-largest oil producer–to a 2009 pledge before the Group of Twenty (G20) nations, making Ottawa the first to comply. It remains unclear which subsidies would be eliminated, but oil and gas projects with plans to reduce emissions and utilize carbon capture and storage (CCS) will be exempt, with federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault telling a press conference, "This ensures that the only federal support for oil and gas goes to projects that decarbonize the sector and result in significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions”, Reuters reports.
The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) applauded the Canadian federal government’s framework, also noting that Ottawa had “announced a timeline for a plan to end domestic public financing for fossil fuels in 2024, which is an essential next step given that a majority of Canada’s financial support for fossil fuels is through public financing”.
However, the IISD also cautioned that the framework’s “definition of inefficiency still allows for continued support for ‘abated’ fossil fuel production, for projects that include emissions reductions measures such as carbon capture and storage in the oil and gas sector and fossil-derived hydrogen”.
Canada is betting big on CCS technology.
The institute categorized this government support for decarbonization in the oil and gas sector as “expensive and inefficient”, saying that the use of carbon capture and storage in this sector does not represent a net-zero solution. Minority New Democratic Party (NDP) Climate Change and Environment critic Laurel Collins also said the framework was not enough.
"While we know that we had to fight like hell to get the Liberals where they are today, it is clear that this announcement doesn’t meet the urgency of the moment when climate disasters are putting everything we value at risk," Reuters quoted Collins as saying.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com