Unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe Territories [OTTAWA], 28 September 2023:
A new estimate from the Canadian Climate Institute shows that emissions from Canada’s oil and gas industry continue to grow, demonstrating the need for a strong emissions cap for the sector.
While the Early Estimate of National Emissions for 2022 shows that Canada’s emissions remain below pre-pandemic levels, emissions from oil and gas production rose by more than 5 megatonnes in 2022. Oil and gas continues to be Canada’s most-polluting sector, and together with buildings, accounted for nearly three-quarters of the overall increase in emissions from 2021 to 2022 – undermining the progress made by other sectors and by climate policy starting to take effect.
“Oil and gas companies claim they’re on a path to net-zero – yet the evidence plainly shows that their emissions are still rising,” said Alex Cool-Fergus, National Policy Manager at Climate Action Network Canada. “It’s clear that they cannot be trusted to cut emissions on their own, no matter the record-breaking profits they generate, or how many climate impacts Canadians face. Without a strong emissions cap now, the fossil fuel sector will continue holding us back and preventing Canada from meeting its climate commitments. With national emissions starting to creep up again, we cannot get complacent: we need stronger action from all levels of government.”
A cap on emissions from the oil and gas sector has strong public support, with 9 in 10 Quebecers in favour, according to a new poll released today, and majority support in Alberta.
The Canadian Climate Institute noted that most other sectors have decreased emissions since 2005, with reductions seen in every sector except for oil and gas, buildings, and agriculture. Notably, emissions from the electricity sector are less than half of what they were in 2005.
Overall, Canada has cut emissions by 6.5% since 2005 – an important step, but still a long way from its 2030 target of 40 to 45% reductions. To meet it, Ottawa must also act quickly to finalize and enact policies targeting other sectors, such as its Clean Electricity Regulations, Zero-Emissions Vehicle Standard, Green Building Strategy, and aligning Canada’s financial sector with net-zero. The analysis also highlights the urgent need for action and coordination from all levels of government, including the provinces and territories, some of which have vocally opposed federal policies and are lobbying to weaken and delay them.
The estimate comes only two days after the International Energy Agency released its updated Net Zero Roadmap. Under its net-zero pathway, no new fossil fuel projects are needed, global renewable power capacity triples this decade, and fossil fuel demand falls by 80% by 2050. Yet a recent report showed that without a course-correction, Canada’s current plans put it on track to be the second-largest expander of oil and gas in the world between now and 2050, with cumulative carbon emissions of 18.6 gigatonnes – the equivalent of 117 new coal plants.
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 150 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
Photo credit: Kris Krug