Possibly the dumbest policy in the world is “using public cash for oil and gas,” says Patrick DeRochie, Program Manager for Climate & Energy at Environmental Defence. Canada’s massive fossil fuel subsidies give Canadians the dubious distinction of being the G7 leader in handouts to Big Oil.
While paying near record-high gasoline prices, Canadians will be thrilled to know every woman, man, and child in Canada also “donates” around $100 ($77 USD) to profitable, and often foreign-owned, oil and gas companies. That donation, in the form of federal and provincial subsidies, amounted to an average $3.67 billion ($2.84 billion USD) annually in 2015 and 2016. That makes Canadians the most generous among the G7 nations, a new study reveals.
The study documents how much support each G7 country doles out to oil, gas, and coal industries. Using this data Motherboard calculated that government support for oil and gas production averaged $100 per Canadian in 2015 and in 2016—or $400 ($308 USD) for a family of four. That’s far more generous than larger economies like the US and Japan that gave the industry $60 ($46 USD) and $50 ($39 USD) per person respectively.
Canada Leads G7 in Fossil Fuel Subsidies
Under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Liberal government promised to be a leader in cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions driving climate change. But it still provides the most government support for oil and gas production per unit of GDP, according to the G7 Fossil Fuel Subsidy Scorecard study, released in advance of the G7 summit in Charlevoix, Quebec, [just held] on June 8 and 9.
“These subsidies are in fundamental conflict with Canada’s commitment to the Paris climate agreement,” says study co-author Yanick Touchette, policy advisor at the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), an independent think tank based in Canada. Under the Paris climate agreement, Canada, and virtually every other nation in the world, agreed to dramatically cut CO2 emissions that result from using fossil fuels.
“These subsidies are in fundamental conflict with Canada’s commitment to the Paris climate agreement.”