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“Although there should be no new oil and gas production developed, the world’s governments plan on producing around 110% more fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with the median 1.5°C-warming pathway, and 45% more fossil fuels than would be consistent with the median 2°C-warming pathway,” says the Climate Messengers public consultation toolkit — a response to the public consultation on the plan to Cap and Cut Emissions from the Oil and Gas production sector.

Canada Needs a Hard Cap on Oil and Gas Emissions

Emissions in Canada’s oil and gas sector are not on a net zero pathway. All of us have a role to play in countering the extensive lobbying by the sector to water down action on emissions reduction. Let’s start by sending this letter to Prime Minister Trudeau included in Environmental Defence Canada’s campaign to End Fossil Fuel Pollution. (The letter is sourced directly from the campaign site.)

Prime Minister Trudeau and Honourable Ministers,

As a concerned member of my community, I’m writing in response to the recently released discussion paper on the proposed oil and gas emissions cap in Canada.

The design of the cap on oil and gas emissions is going to be an instrumental tool in showing whether your government is sincere in taking meaningful climate action. Tackling emissions from Canada’s oil and gas industry is the key climate challenge for our country, and so this policy needs to be designed with ambition and rigor.

In order to be an effective tool, the emissions cap must drive down oil and gas emissions at the pace and scale needed to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. At a minimum, the oil and gas emissions cap must:

  1. Place a hard cap on emissions with tools that will ensure enforceability and accountability starting in 2023.
  2. Reduce emissions immediately: If emissions aren’t reduced significantly within the next decade, we will miss our window to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. After years of delay tactics, and as Canada’s biggest climate polluter, the oil and gas industry must reduce emissions significantly by 2025 and reduce its emissions by 60% by 2030.
  3. Include all emissions from the production and use of oil and gas: Ignoring emissions from burning oil and gas ignores 80 per cent of the problem.
  4. Resist the demands of the petroleum lobby: Your government needs to refuse the oil and gas lobby’s requests for offsets, credit for early action, and other “flexibility.” What industry really wants are delays, loopholes, and weaker climate action.
  5. Deny subsidies to oil and gas companies: Polluters should pay. Oil and gas companies are making more than enough in profits to pay for their contribution to climate action. There is no reason that taxpayers should be footing any part of their bill, including for unproven technologies like carbon capture and storage.
  6. Put people first: To complement the emissions cap, Canada needs
    1. a strong and sufficient Just Transition strategy that ensures no workers and communities are left behind, and
    2. a full and sincere implementation of UNDRIP, including securing free, prior, and informed consent from First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities for all new and under-construction energy projects.

This is a critical test for your government. Despite all of the progress on climate policy in recent years, emissions have continued to rise. That won’t change until there are robust regulations to curb pollution from the oil and gas industry.

I urge you to stand up to the lobbying and public relations muscle of the oil and gas industry and make sure this policy is sufficiently ambitious and effective.

“We need to make the government hear us, and not just the Oil and Gas interests.” — Climate Messengers

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.Creative Commons License

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