Reliance on carbon capture and carbon removal technology is a dangerous trap

Four years ago, Canada committed to reach “net zero” emissions by 2050. Details of Canada’s net-zero by 2050 “pledge” were first set out in a report published by the Canada Energy Regulator, Canada’s Energy Future 2020. The document informed Canadians that “reaching net-zero emissions does not necessarily require eliminating all emissions” by 2050.

The unforgiving 2030 deadline

Part 17 of 18 — Canada’s most recent Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP) published on March 29, 2022, affirms that the aim of Federal Government policy is to continue to maximize our oil production. The government’s plan is clear: Canada’s oil production will continue to increase until – and if – other countries eventually begin to consume less oil.

2030 is an unforgiving deadline for achieving deep cuts in global emissions: IPCC Special Report on Global Warming to 1.5°C

Part 16 of 18 — The remaining time to change course and fully avoid the rise of surface temperature to levels above 1.5°C is now tragically exhausted. Our governments have deceived us. Even if the most rapid emissions reductions measures are fully implemented over the next seven years by all countries, those measures will probably be unable to avoid us witnessing warming exceed the 1.5°C limit.

The “carbon leakage” argument

Part 15 of 18 — While our government admits that every additional tonne of CO2 released into the atmosphere from our expanding oil production causes additional amounts of economic loss and damage by worsening climatic impacts (the government measures that loss by what it calls the “social cost of carbon”), it argues that the economic benefits of increased oil production outweigh that loss and damage.

Canada’s very low carbon price on oil production

Part 14 of 18 — Despite the Supreme Court of Canada’s important decision on March 25, 2021, affirming that the Federal Government has the constitutional power to impose a carbon price on all emitters, the carbon price on oil producers in Canada has in fact been set at a level so low that it provides no disincentive to ongoing rapid oil production increases.

The Federal Government’s constitutional power to curb Canada’s oil production

Part 13 of 18 — At a press conference on April 4, 2022, Canada’s Minister of Environment Steven Guilbeault confirmed that Canada’s new climate plan is “based on” increasing oil production: “… the plan we presented last week, the Emissions Reduction Plan, was based on the Canadian Energy Regulator projections that oil and gas production would increase in Canada between now and 2030 …”

Why we need an independent public inquiry

Part 12 of 18 — On December 16, 2021, the Minister of Natural Resources, Jonathan Wilkinson, belatedly instructed the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) to conduct an internal study to determine what future level of oil production in Canada would be aligned with limiting warming to 1.5°C.

The failure of the Net-Zero Advisory Body

Part 10 of 18 — The Net-Zero Advisory Body was created under the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, passed into law on June 30, 2021. It might have become an important “independent” voice to provide Canadians with an informed assessment of Federal climate policy.