Partnership with Shell Canada sets country and province on the wrong path to address climate change

Friday July 16, 2021

Joint federal-provincial partnership with oil giant on B.C. Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy troubles environmentalists

Unceded Coast Salish Territories (VANCOUVER, BC) — Earlier today, British Columbia Premier John Horgan and Carla Qualtrough, federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, announced a joint partnership with, oil major and part owner of the controversial LNG Canada terminal, Shell Canada, on a so-called B.C. Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy. Unfortunately, instead of focusing measures that would reduce B.C.’s dependency on fossil fuels, like building more renewable energy capacity or electrifying our vehicle fleets, this center will focus on technology that is intended to extend our use of fossil fuels, like carbon capture and storage (CCS).

“The bottom line is you can’t fight climate climate change without breaking the hold that fossil fuel companies have on our economy and getting into bed with the likes of Shell, one of the largest polluters in the world, is the wrong direction for B.C. said Sven Biggs, Canadian Oil and Gas Program Director for Stand.earth. “Premier Horgan needs to realize that the era of fracked gas is over, and that he can create far more good paying jobs for British Columbians by embracing clean energy than by playing footsie with big oil.”    

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of a new study initiated by the province and the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission showing that methane emissions from fracking wells in B.C. are double what the government previously thought. Methane is a highly polluting greenhouse gas that is 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to warming our planet.

“Despite the Premier’s high minded rhetoric on climate action, emissions in B.C. have continued to rise and today’s announcement is a perfect example of why the province’s climate policy is not working,” said Biggs. “You cannot solve this crisis without taking on the industry that created it, tried to cover it up, and are now trying to green wash their way out of it instead of paying their fair share to clean it up.”  

Currently, oil and gas activity produces 20 per cent of B.C.’s emissions, but contributes only three per cent to provincial GDP, and represents just 0.5 per cent of jobs in the province. The government's policy of low royalties and high fossil fuel subsidies is one of the key reasons we are not on track to meet our climate targets.

Stand.earth is calling for a phase-out of all provincial fossil fuel subsidies which have risen to $1.3 billion a year, a moratorium on new oil and gas development, and investments in economic diversification for Northern B.C.  

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Media contacts: 

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