Stand.earth calls on BC government to end fossil fuel subsidies before next election

Stand.earth calls on BC government to end fossil fuel subsidies before next election

Monday November 25, 2019

Province gave $830M to oil & gas industry in annual subsidies according to new report by International Institute for Sustainable Development

VANCOUVER, BC – A new report released today by the International Institute for Sustainable Development called “Locked In and Losing Out: British Columbia’s Fossil Fuel Subsidies” reveals that BC’s subsidies to fossil fuel production and consumption reached $830 million in 2017-2018, and included up to $3.1 billion in outstanding royalty credits. 

Read the report: https://www.iisd.org/sites/default/files/publications/locked-in-losing-out.pdf

Read the report summary: https://www.iisd.org/sites/default/files/publications/locked-in-losing-out-summary.pdf

Despite holding the reputation for being one of the most environmentally friendly provinces in Canada, these subsidies and royalty credits make BC the second highest provider of fossil fuel subsidies among Canada’s provinces and territories, second only to Alberta. Subsidies and royalty credits for the fossil fuel industry have increased under the NDP government.

In response to the report, Stand.earth is calling on British Columbia’s provincial leaders to end fossil fuel subsidies to the oil and gas industry before the next election to avoid undermining the CleanBC plan and to ensure the province can meet its climate change targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The fact that subsidies and royalty credits to fossil fuel companies have increased under this government is shocking. At this moment in history, why would we be handing the province’s biggest polluters millions of taxpayers dollars — instead of putting that money towards housing or education or other cleaner industries? If this government is serious about climate change and building a clean economy, they will end these subsidies before the next election,” said Tzeporah Berman, International Program Director at Stand.earth.

“This new study by IISD shows exactly how beholden British Columbia’s leaders are to the oil and gas industry. What’s truly shocking is to compare these subsidies and royalty credits to funding for other key programs like education and housing,” said Sven Biggs, Climate & Energy Campaigner at Stand.earth. “BC fossil fuel subsidies are higher than the province’s housing budget in 2019, and its outstanding royalty credits to fossil fuel producers are larger than the $2.7 billion the province spent building new elementary and high schools in 2019. That is simply unacceptable.”

According to the report, fossil fuel producers claim millions of dollars in credits each year to reduce their royalty payments. Oil and gas royalties are intended to provide benefits to BC residents, but royalty credits reduce those benefits. In 2018–2019 alone, fossil fuel producers in BC claimed over $631 million in deep well credits. The province has also accumulated between $2.6 billion and $3.1 billion in outstanding credits — money that fossil fuel producers won’t be paying in future years, and therefore won’t be put toward social services, renewable energy, and other areas.

The report also reveals that BC has increased subsidies for the natural gas industry, particularly for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), including recently signing an agreement with LNG Canada that sets a precedent for similar subsidies for other fossil fuel producers and locks in high-carbon infrastructure for decades, at the expense of more sustainable options.

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Media contacts:

Virginia Cleaveland, Stand.earth, media@stand.earth, +1 778 984 3994

Vanessa Farquharson, IISD, vfarquharson@iisd.ca, +1 416 209 3451