Leaders! 70% of Canadians want a national emissions cap.
It’s up to you to make sure it’s a strong cap
The oil and gas industry is the largest emitter of climate polluting greenhouse gasses in Canada. While Canada has set national goals and targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including for the oil and gas sector – these aren’t working. In fact, oil and gas sector emissions have risen more than emissions in any other sector of the economy: 88% since 1990.
Climate change is here now.
People across the country – whom you, our leaders, represent – are paying the price of climate change with their lives, homes, and livelihoods. From West to East people’s entire worlds are literally being swept out to sea or turned to ash.
You, and only you, can act to stop this from getting worse.
To do so, you must fight to make sure the national emissions cap is a strong one – a “hard cap.” This has wide public support and 70% of Canadians want a national emissions cap.
It’s time for Canada to step up as a leader on the global stage. A strong emissions cap makes it clear that Canada is taking climate change seriously, and a strong cap ensures that taxpayers don’t end up paying the price through adaptation costs, repairs, and loss.
How many communities do we need to see threatened by wildfires, floods, and hurricanes? How much money are you willing to spend on adapting to these impacts?
Because the price is already too high.
You may still have questions. Here are the answers.
What about jobs?
A strong emissions cap will future-proof our economy.
Not only will it fuel job creation in the renewable energy sector, it will also free up more tax dollars that are currently propping up the fossil fuel sector.
These new jobs will outstrip job losses in the oil and gas industry. In fact, many fossil fuel workers are already making the transition to renewable energy jobs. The fossil fuel industry has already received enough public funding and any further government funding should go to creating jobs in renewable and green industries.
The fossil fuel sector (oil, gas, and coal) accounts for less than 1 percent of all jobs in Canada, although the fossil fuel industry has done an impressive job inflating its role as an employer. It’s also snuffed out a lot of union jobs. Canada’s mining sector, which includes oil and gas, “has experienced the most rapid decline in union representation of any sector in the Canadian economy.”
It’s time for a strong cap that will encourage the creation of green jobs and support for workers to transition out of a dying industry.
This is a critical moment for climate action, and we need our elected leaders to represent the interests of Canadians over the interests of the fossil fuel industry.
What about inflation?
Big Oil has outdone itself convincing Canadians that the rising cost of oil and gas is simply a function of the market. But the truth is, the biggest chunk of those inflated prices is going directly into corporate profits. Last year, the oil and gas industry saw its biggest profits ever recorded. Several Canadian oil and gas companies more than doubled their profits, all while Canadians struggled to keep up with rising costs.
They can pay for the cap, because at the end of the day we will pay for climate change if we don’t cap emissions now.
Can we afford this?
Yes. We can start by cutting off government subsidies to the oil and gas industry and use that money to fund the transition to clean, renewable energy and support healthy, sustainable communities.
Depending on how one defines a “subsidy,” the oil and gas sector in Canada received an estimated $4.5 billion to $18 billion to $81 billion in government subsidies in 2020. Whether you choose the low-ball amount or the higher-end estimates, that’s a lot of taxpayer dollars.
And frankly, we can’t afford not to do this. Hurricane Fiona caused nearly $4 billion in damages, much of it in Atlantic Canada.
Climate change’s impact on Canadians’ health could cost our healthcare system billions of dollars. In the coming decades, those health impacts alone could also reduce economic activity by tens of billions of dollars. This summer wildfire smoke was so bad in Canadian cities the health impacts made their way into peoples’ homes.
What will this mean for energy costs?
A strong emissions cap also means reduced energy costs. Wind energy is the least expensive source of energy we have today. A cap on oil and gas sector emissions will spur the electrification of our homes, businesses, and entire economy.
With renewable energies such as wind, solar, and energy storage providing electricity and bumping up energy savings through efficiency, we can transition away from expensive oil, gas, and coal, and lower our energy bills.
The shift to renewable energy will strengthen provinces’ energy security rather than weaken it. The war in Ukraine and volatile international oil and gas prices and supply have driven home the need to support local renewable energy. Not only will it buffer us against geopolitical tensions and OPEC decisions, but it will also enable provinces to decentralize and diversify their energy systems, which is key to making communities more resilient to extreme weather events caused by climate change.
What about people who heat their homes with oil and gas?
Provincial governments know that it’s time to upgrade and are already rolling out financing to help low-income households transition to energy-efficient heat pumps, which can also provide cooling during the increasingly hot summers. In Nova Scotia, the government recently committed to providing free electric heat pumps to low-income families, along with any electrical panel upgrades needed to install them. New Brunswick, PEI, and NL also have programs to help households get off oil and gas and improve energy efficiency.
A hard cap on emissions will signal to provincial governments (and be consistent with the goals of the federal government) that they need to increase funding and support for these programs, and also expand the criteria to include more middle-income households and ensure renters benefit, too.