Toronto – In reaction to the release of the Conservative’s climate plan, Keith Stewart, Senior Energy Strategist at Greenpeace Canada said:
“At a time when we desperately need to do more, the Conservatives are unsurprisingly proposing we lower the bar even further. It may play well in oil company boardrooms, but it won’t prepare Canadians or the Canadian economy for the zero-carbon future.”
On the Personal Low Carbon Savings Account:
“The Conservatives are proposing a weaker, more bureaucratic carbon pricing system that shifts money from the poor to the rich, while disingenuously claiming to be on the side of workers and against big government.”
Overall: The plan promises to do less than the Liberals at a time when we desperately need to do more:
- Lower and less effective carbon price.
- Fewer and weaker regulations.
- More loopholes (e.g. offsets) that allow the oil industry to keep polluting.
- Commitment to step back and let the provinces lead, after the Supreme Court explained why it is important for the federal government to lead.
- The Conservative plan is aligned with the policy wish-list from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers:
- Public subsidy for carbon capture and storage (which would be incentivized by a strong carbon price without a need for public subsidies).
- A weaker clean fuel standard.
- No mention of methane regulations or other regulations on oil and gas industry.
- Let provinces lead on industrial carbon pricing.
- Emphasis on offsets rather than absolute reductions.
- Support for LNG
- There is no discussion of how to protect oil and gas workers as we transition off of fossil fuels (although the Liberals haven’t acted yet on their promised Just Transition Act).
Most interesting parts:
- The Conservative party leadership (if not the voting membership) recognizes that they can’t get elected without a recognition of the need to act on climate change. Their 15-page plan has many photos, but few specifics. They claim to have modeled the GHG reductions, but they would need to release that modeling publicly for it to be seen as credible (e.g. there are a lot of ‘we will work with provinces/Biden to do X’ – were these all assumed to go ahead?). And what happens if the provinces don’t want to go along with their plan?
- The CPC is echoing Liberal support for ‘blue’ hydrogen (made from fossil fuels) and nuclear reactors (which won’t be ready – if ever – until after 2030, while renewable energy is cost-effective now).
- The commitment to a zero-emission vehicle mandate modeled on the one in BC, though the CPC proposal is weaker than BCs
- BC ZEV is 30% by 2030 (which was modestly ambitious when BC adopted it two years ago but now looks like business-as-usual) and 100% by 2040.
- CPC proposal is only 30% by 2030, with no phase-out date.
- The commitments for building retrofits are vague and lack specific objectives.
- The Personal Low Carbon Savings Account is both overly complicated to administer and will likely be ineffective.
- It weakens the price signal. Under the existing system, you get back the average amount a household of similar size pays in carbon tax so you have an incentive to reduce the amount of fuel you buy and pocket the difference. Under the CPC model, you get back the precise amount you pay so why try to avoid paying?
- Under the current system, most low-income households get a rebate larger than what they pay in tax, while high-income households pay more in tax (because they buy more gasoline, heating fuels etc). The CPC model would remove this progressive element by giving everyone back precisely what they paid.
- It gives consumers gift cards/points rather than cash, which is oddly bureaucratic .
For more information, please contact:
Marie-Christine Fiset, Head of Media, Greenpeace Canada
[email protected]; +1 514 972-6316