Thousands of Canadians call on federal government to stop funding carbon capture with public dollars

Monday March 28, 2022

Over 30,000 concerned Canadians call on federal government to stop providing public funding to carbon capture and scrap the upcoming CCUS tax credit

COUNCIL OF CANADIANS, ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE, LEADNOW, STAND.EARTH

Ottawa | Unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg People - Thousands of people from across Canada are urging Finance Minister Freeland and Natural Resources Minister Wilkinson to scrap a proposed carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) tax credit. The government is expected to release the tax credit in the upcoming budget. 

CCUS is touted by the oil and gas lobby as a way of cutting emissions, by capturing carbon before it escapes into the air. Today, national organizations delivered petitions, with a total of 31,512 signatories demanding the government to reject this false climate solution. 

“Carbon capture is being used as a Trojan horse by oil and gas executives to continue, and even expand, fossil fuel production. It’s a dangerous distraction driven by the same polluters who created the climate emergency,” says Julia Levin, Senior Climate and Energy Program Manager with Environmental Defence. “We no longer have time for incremental emission reductions that aren’t aligned with a pathway to zero emissions. There is no fixing fossil fuels, we need to ditch them to protect our climate.”

Providing public financial support for CCUS diverts resources from proven, cost-effective climate solutions including electrification and grid modernization, renewable energy generation and storage, and energy efficiency. 

“Here’s a real climate solution: stop giving public money to the richest polluters on the planet,” said Sven Biggs, Canadian Oil and Gas Program Director for Stand.earth. “Instead of bankrolling oil and gas companies to develop CCUS, the government should finance proven solutions which will replace fossil fuels with renewables and create sustainable jobs.”

Despite raking in bigger profits than ever given the high price of oil and gas, oil and gas  companies want governments in Canada to pay for CCUS for their sector. The companies have lobbied for the tax credit to pay for 75% of the cost to build carbon capture facilities, as part of the more than $50 billion companies want governments to contribute to their CCUS plans. 

Betting on CCUS only prolongs reliance on fossil fuels at the very time when avoiding catastrophic climate change requires winding down the production and use of fossil fuels. CCUS technologies can only capture a fraction of emissions from the life cycle of oil and gas. Despite decades of investments, current CCUS capacity is just .001% of global emissions. Worse still, captured carbon drives more oil production through a process called enhanced oil recovery, contributing to the very climate crisis the technology purports to solve. 

“Magical thinking isn’t going to solve the climate crisis,” says Dylan Penner, Climate and Social Justice Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “Doubling down on CCUS instead of cutting downstream emissions from fossil fuels extracted in Canada is like trying to wield the One Ring instead of destroying it in Mount Doom. Spoiler warning: that approach doesn’t end well.”

Jesse Whattam, Campaigner at Leadnow, said: "Pumping billions of public money into CCUS basically amounts to a blank cheque to oil & gas companies to continue fossil fuel production and expansion. In a climate emergency, it's irresponsible - especially when we know what the answer to solving the climate crisis actually is: funding a rapid transition off of fossil fuels and creating good sustainable jobs for all."

The signatories point out that if the tax credit is implemented and made available for oil and gas projects, including fossil gas power generation and fossil-derived blue hydrogen, the tax credit would be a significant new fossil fuel subsidy. This would break the government’s election promise to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies by 2023, as well as undermine Canada’s domestic and international climate commitments. 

The federal government first outlined its plans to develop the tax credit in last year's budget, in response to lobbying from the oil and gas industry. Since then, 500+ organisations from across Canada and the United States called on governments to reject CCUS and end the ‘carbon capture of climate policy’. More recently, 400+ leading climate scientists and scholars sent a letter to Minister Freeland, calling on the Minister to not introduce the tax credit. “Deploying CCUS at any climate-relevant scale, carried out within the short timeframe we have to avert climate catastrophe without posing substantial risks to communities on the frontlines of the buildout, is a pipe dream,” the letter reads. 

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Additional resources

For media inquiries, please contact:

Ziona Eyob, Stand.earth, canadamedia@stand.earth, +1 604 757 7279 (Pacific Time)

Barbara Hayes, Environmental Defence, bhayes@environmentaldefence.ca (Eastern Time)

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About the organisations:

Since 1985, the Council of Canadians has brought people together through collective action and grassroots organizing to challenge corporate power and advocate for people, the planet, and our democracy. 

Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

Leadnow organizes campaigns that build and defend a just, sustainable, and equitable Canada. We help hundreds of thousands of people take action at the times and in the places that matter most by providing non-partisan opportunities for digital and real life democratic engagement. 

Stand.earth (formerly ForestEthics) is an international nonprofit environmental organization working to create a world where respect for people and the environment comes first. Our campaigns challenge destructive corporate and governmental practices, demand accountability, and create solutions that support all of us — and the environment and climate upon which we depend.