B.C. NDP budget continues to subsidize fossil fuels

Tuesday April 20, 2021

Province misses important opportunity to build back better

Unceded Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nation Territories (Vancouver, British Columbia) — While today’s British Columbia budget did contain some new funds for environmental priorities, including investments in B.C. Parks, electric vehicle charging stations, and free transit for kids, that new spending was overshadowed by the government's continued subsidies for the fossil fuel sector. 

Today’s budget projects that the province will keep giving oil and gas companies over $1 billion in tax breaks, incentives and direct funding.

“Budget 2021 was an opportunity to diversify British Columbia’s economy and invest in creating new jobs in emerging fields like renewable energy. Instead, this government decided to continue the policy of giving fossil fuel companies massive handouts at the public’s expense” said Tzeporah Berman, International Program Director for Stand.earth. “This was a huge missed opportunity. Economists and environmentalists alike have urged governments to use this moment to build back better by investing in the infrastructure necessary to create a more sustainable economy.”   

Last month. B.C. announced sectoral targets, which set 2030 climate pollution reduction targets for each sector of the economy -- including a stand-alone target for the oil and gas industry. If B.C. is to secure these sectoral emissions reductions, and close the gap between B.C.’s climate targets, and those which can be realized through CleanBC, the B.C. NDP needs to phase out subsidies to oil and gas, and signal to the industry that it is time to begin a transition to a more sustainable economy. 

“Later this year, the Ministry of Energy Mines and Low Carbon Innovation will embark on a review of oil and gas royalties. It is our hope that this government will seize this opportunity to re-evaluate the failed policy of giving public money to Big Oil and Gas” said Sven Biggs, Canadian Oil & Gas Campaigns Director for Stand.earth. “There are so many ways that we could spend a billion dollars that would better benefit all British Columbians and grow our economy.”  

Despite the B.C. NDP’s often stated commitment to tackling climate change, B.C.’s emissions have continued to rise, and in late 2020, the province revealed that the gap to B.C.’s legislated 2030 target has increased significantly, from 25 per cent when the plan was first announced to as much as 44 per cent. Continued investments in the fossil fuel sector and in mega-projects such as LNG Canada will only continue to grow BC’s emissions, and make it increasingly unlikely for B.C. to ever meet its emissions reduction targets.

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Media contacts: 

Sven Biggs, Canadian Oil & Gas Campaigns Director, sven@stand.earth, +1 778 882 8354 (Pacific Time)

Kiki Wood, Senior Oil and Gas Campaigner, kiki@stand.earth, +1 902 489 3925 (Pacific Time)