Oil and gas lobby’s wish list would increase Canadian greenhouse gas emissions by 116 million tonnes, according to study

Environmental Defence Canada's executive director Tim Gray at a recent panel in Edmonton. Image: David J. Climenhaga
Image: David J. Climenhaga

Research published this morning by Environmental Defence Canada concludes that adoption of the powerful Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers lobby group’s election wish list would increase Canadian greenhouse gas emissions by 116 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030.

“In that scenario, Canada’s oil and gas sector would be emitting 311 million tonnes, making emissions from that one industry representing one-fourteenth of the Canadian economy greater than the emissions of 170 countries in the world,” the report stated.

This goes to the respected Toronto-based environmental group’s assertion well-funded fossil fuel industry lobbying is the single biggest barrier to effective climate action being taken by Canada.

“Oil and gas companies haven’t just played an outsized role in emitting GHGs and accelerating climate change,” said the report, which was put together for Environmental Defence Canada by the EnviroEconomics research organization. “Their lobbying efforts have also contributed to weakening existing environmental policies and killing or delaying proposed climate policies.”

The report noted that academic research shows corporate fossil fuel lobbyists met with Canadian government officials about 11,000 times between 2011 and 2017. That’s eleven thousand times — not a typo.

Fossil fuel industry lobbying sought to weaken or kill six important areas of environmental protection, the report said: environmental assessment rules, water protection, carbon-pricing policies, methane controls, impact assessment and clean fuel standards.

The report also accuses some of Canada’s major fossil fuel companies of using subsidiaries in foreign tax havens to avoid taxes, although the researchers said they were unable to estimate the amount of money that may have been squirrelled away abroad.

If CAPP’s wish list were granted after the October 21 federal election, Environmental Defence Canada said, GHG emissions from the oil and gas sector “would use 60 per cent of Canada’s 2030 carbon budget under the Paris Agreement.” It noted that the sector, despite its power and influence, represents 7 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product and 1.3 per cent of Canada’s employment. MORE

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