Oil and gas sector According to Steven Guilbeault, there is no emission cap until the end of 2023
(OTTAWA) Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said Monday that promised emissions caps for Canada’s oil and gas sector will be ready by the end of next year.
In an interview from Egypt, where he participated on the 27the Speaking at a United Nations climate conference, Mr Guilbeault said his government was drawing up the rules in “record time”.
Therefore, the final rules must be released at least two years after the Liberals first promised to limit emissions from the oil and gas sector during the 2021 election campaign.
“We will prepare our regulatory draft by the spring, in the first half of the year at the latest, Mr. Guilbeault declared. And then the goal is to get the rules done by Christmas, which is, you know, a record time for rules. The Minister noted that it took more than five years to prepare the Clean Fuel Regulations.
For this COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, many Canadian environmental organizations were hoping that Minister Guilbeault would at least use this international event to mark the beginning of the cap.
Keith Brooks, head of Environmental Defense programs, recalled that oil companies made record profits last year, but showed no appetite to spend most of those profits on climate action. “I think if they knew where the ceiling was going to be, it might add some urgency to the discussion. »
Mr. Guilbeault himself has harshly criticized Canadian oil companies for focusing their record profits on shareholders rather than on climate programs.
The only clue the government has left so far about the aims of the cap is in an emissions reduction plan published in March. The plan sets an interim emissions target of 110 million tonnes in 2030 for the oil and gas sector, a 46% reduction from 2019 levels and 32% from 2005 levels.
Canada aims to reduce emissions in all sectors by 40-45% from 2005 levels by 2030. Environment and Climate Action Network Canada recalled earlier this COP27 that the oil and gas sector must reduce its emissions by 60% by 2030. Until 2005.
Emissions are increasing
Emissions from oil and gas production account for about a quarter of Canada’s total carbon footprint; they are also 83% more than 30 years ago. Total emissions in Canada increased by about 23% over the same period.
Minister Guilbeault, who sat on the side of environmental activists in previous COP meetings before being elected as an MP in 2019, now accuses his former comrades in arms of being “dishonest” by demanding that he produce ceiling data.
“Look, the people who say we have to do this now will be the first to criticize me if I don’t do the proper consultation with, say, the indigenous peoples of Canada – because we have a constitutional duty,” he said. argued Monday. They know very well how our system works. »
The procedure for enacting new regulations in Canada requires a series of consultations, including publishing a draft regulation and receiving public comments on the draft, before publishing the final version.
“Frankly, it’s kind of disingenuous to say, ‘We want a hat now,'” Guilbeault said. They clearly know how it works. And we cut the time it takes to develop rules in half. »
The cap is not the only sticking point between the federal government and environmentalists in Egypt. Several groups criticized Canada for inviting oil and gas companies and banks that finance fossil fuel projects to the delegation.
An event with the Pathways Alliance, a consortium of Canada’s leading oil sands companies, was held in the Canadian pavilion at COP27 on Friday. At the event, several environmental groups organized a noisy walk.
Minister Guilbeault defended that everyone will have a seat at the table on Monday. “I respectfully disagree with my former colleagues in the environmental movement,” he said. I think it’s a very slippery slope when governments start deciding who can and can’t participate in a democratic society. »