Amidst an escalating climate emergency, Canada continues to be one of the world’s greatest boosters of fossil fuels. This is due to the massive sums of support provided to oil and gas companies each year by Canada’s public export bank, Export Development Canada.
Between 2018 and 2020, Canada provided more public finance for fossil fuels than any other country in the G20. Nearly all of this financing was delivered through Export Development Canada (EDC), which provided on average $13.6 billion a year in support to Canadian and foreign oil and gas companies.
Above Ground and over one hundred other civil society organizations have called on Ottawa to order EDC to immediately end its support for fossil fuels, in Canada and abroad. This is necessary to avoid catastrophic warming of over 1.5°C, which experts say means immediately halting development of all new oil and gas fields and leaving the vast majority of Canada’s oil sands reserves unexploited.
A small step (or two) in the right direction
At the UN climate change conference (COP26) last fall, Canada joined the United States, the United Kingdom and dozens of other countries in pledging to end a portion of this finance – certain types of support for overseas fossil fuel development – by the end of 2022. Ottawa estimates that the commitment will impact approximately $1 billion a year in financing from EDC.
This represents only a fraction of EDC’s overall fossil finance, much of which flows to companies and projects in Canada. In recent years, this domestic support has included billions in loans to projects such as the Trans Mountain and Coastal GasLink pipelines, as well as to the country’s major oil sands players.
The federal government has also committed to phasing out domestic fossil finance, but has not committed to a deadline. The finance and environment ministers have been tasked with developing the plan, with a phase-out date expected to be announced within months.
Now is the time for Canadians to speak up
With the government’s phase-out plan currently under development, now is the time for Canadians to speak up and tell Ottawa that limiting warming to 1.5°C requires ending Canada’s fossil finance – all of Canada’s fossil finance – today.
This means ending public support for all oil and gas production and infrastructure, such as pipelines or refineries. And it means that there can be no loopholes for companies that use carbon capture, a technology that encourages increased oil production and emissions while prolonging our dependence on fossil fuels.
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