Published On: April 6, 2022

For immediate release.

Unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe Territories [OTTAWA], 6 April 2022:

The federal government’s decision to approve Equinor’s Bay du Nord oil project sabotages Canada’s commitment to fight the climate crisis.

In the wake of this week’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it’s clear that any new fossil fuel infrastructure projects are incompatible with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C. Responding to the report, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said, “The truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels. Investing in new fossil fuels infrastructure is moral and economic madness. Such investments will soon be stranded assets – a blot on the landscape and a blight on investment portfolios.”

By green-lighting a project that would produce 1 billion barrels of oil over its lifetime, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet are proving themselves to be among these “dangerous radicals.”

“To see the government approving new fossil infrastructure under its jurisdiction for the first time since 2019 – days after the publication of its first legally-mandated climate plan – is nothing less than heartbreaking,” said Caroline Brouillette, National Policy Manager at Climate Action Network – Réseau action climat Canada.

“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is doubling down on the myth that Canada can be a climate leader while continuing to produce and export vast amounts of climate-destroying fossil fuels,” she added. “The longer our leaders postpone being honest with Canadians about the incompatibility of increased oil production and a climate- and jobs- safe future, the rougher the awakening will be. Today’s decision is a failure of courage.”

The announcement that the approval is conditional on Bay du Nord reaching “net-zero” by 2050 shows that the federal government has failed to grasp the simple truth that there is no such thing as net-zero oil, just as there is no such thing as clean oil. The vast majority of emissions come when the oil is burned – meaning that making production slightly less carbon-intensive only affects a fraction of the project’s climate impact. The net-zero condition exposes the major loophole of Canada’s failure to take responsibility for exported fossil fuels, as well the government’s myopic reliance on ineffective and harmful false solutions.

This decision reveals that the Liberals’ climate strategy is shamefully at odds with the research of the world’s leading body of climate scientists. As the IPCC has shown, increasing fossil fuel production is simply incompatible with a livable future. The only way to achieve real energy security and climate safety is to immediately scale up renewable energy and efficiency measures, while redesigning our systems and communities to decrease people’s need to use fossil fuels.

That this decision comes at the same time as a review of Suncor’s ​​Base Mine Extension is paradoxical. Curbing expansion in one place but prolonging dependence on the boom-and-bust fossil fuel industry in another, while the world looks to decrease its reliance on oil, does a disservice to workers. Polls show that people in Newfoundland and Labrador want a green economy. Workers deserve support and a forward-thinking plan from the federal and provincial governments for long-term, sustainable good jobs, including skills training and new opportunities in renewable and other sectors.

The Bay du Nord project has faced widespread opposition, with over one hundred citizens’ and environmental groups in Newfoundland and across Canada as well as over eighty international organizations have called on the federal Cabinet to reject the project. High school students led protests against Bay du Nord through the streets of Montreal last week.


Canada’s farthest-reaching network of organizations working on climate and energy issues, Climate Action Network – Réseau action climat (CAN-Rac) Canada is a coalition of 140 organizations operating from coast to coast to coast. Our membership brings environmental groups together with trade unions, First Nations, social justice, development, health and youth organizations, faith groups and local, grassroots initiatives.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Vicky Coo, Communications Lead, 613-203-3272