New York, 20 September 2023:
After sustained pressure from civil society, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to announce Canada’s plans to cap emissions from the oil and gas sector by the end of this year at the United Nations Climate Ambition Summit in New York today.
The pledge came in response to a pointed question from Under-Secretary-General Melissa Fleming, noting that Canada was one of the largest expanders of fossil fuels last year, and challenging the Prime Minister to show how he is addressing the calls to action of the UN Acceleration Agenda to safeguard the goal to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C and deliver climate justice. Canada was the only major fossil fuel producer from the Global North to be given the opportunity to speak at the summit.
“Did Prime Minister Trudeau fully address the question of how Canada will course-correct to end the expansion of deadly fossil fuels and live up to the Acceleration Agenda? As we heard many leaders today explicitly name the culprits behind the climate crisis – the oil, gas, and coal industry pushing for reckless expansion at all costs – the reality is that Canada is not yet a leader on advancing the just energy transition,” said Caroline Brouillette, Executive Director of Climate Action Network Canada. “Getting there will take work from all levels of government, all parties and all actors, but today made it clear that the world expects Canada to step up.”
“It’s a testament to the work of civil society that the Prime Minister has finally emerged from his silence and promised to table emissions cap regulations by end of year, after so many delays – and it reflects the public appetite for holding big polluters to account made evident by the widespread demonstrations last weekend. Now, we need to make sure that it will require the oil and gas industry to take on its fair share of reducing emissions in line with 1.5°C, with no more delays or loopholes.”
As part of the package outlining the oil and gas sector’s transition, Prime Minister Trudeau highlighted the steps Canada is taking as the only G20 country with a framework in place to end “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies, as well as forthcoming regulations designed to help Canada exceed its 2030 methane emissions reduction target.
In his speech, the Prime Minister reiterated that climate policy is economic policy, underlining the opportunities and benefits to Canadians from major investments in the clean economy. Climate Action Network Canada has called on the federal government to dedicate 2% of GDP per year to transformative climate investments that would tackle the cost-of-living crisis driven by fossilflation. Climate investments must be aligned with “green strings” that ensure no lifelines to the fossil fuel industry, and must uphold the rights and leadership of Indigenous Peoples; as Indigenous Climate Action has noted, Indigenous rights are fundamental to real solutions, but were missing from Mr. Trudeau’s remarks today.
Mr. Trudeau also announced an additional allocation of $700 million in Special Drawing Rights (SDR) to the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust, which was welcomed by Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley. Increasing Canada’s SDR contribution is a solid show of support for low-income countries facing crisis after crisis; however, this contribution should be delivered in grants, while overcoming the obstacles for accessing cash.
See Climate Action Network Canada’s scorecard here, evaluating how Canada’s current actions measure up to key elements of the Acceleration Agenda.
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