Federal government action and climate change

The ELC has developed a comprehensive overview that identifies how Canada provides billions of dollars in subsidies each year to the fossil fuel industry.

“Despite Canada having committed to the Paris Agreement, it is still subsidizing the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $58 billion per year,” says supervising lawyer Erin Gray.

That means each Canadian taxpayer is contributing approximately $1,600 each year in subsidies that encourage companies to emit greenhouse gas (GHG).

The ELC document, Federal Government Action and Climate Change:  A Report Detailing Federal Government Actions that Enable Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Support the Fossil Fuel Industry, reveals subsidies the fossil fuel industry receives, federal laws that encourage and allow GHG production, and the network of legislative mechanisms created over the years that encourage and allow the fossil fuel industry to expand. “This report outlines the myriad ways in which these subsidies occur,” says Erin, “including as direct spending, and through legislation, public financing and not requiring payment for the social costs of fossil fuel use.”

While writing this report, I was constantly surprised by the number of ways in which the federal government regulates greenhouse gas emissions. I assumed that because Canada’s emissions have remained relatively steady for the past several years, emissions were not being heavily regulated. I quickly learned this was not the case.

I hope people recognize that we must more stringently regulate greenhouse gas emissions and will use the report to advocate for change in our regulatory framework.I was excited to work on a case that was so relevant and on a matter that I had heard so much about…. It made me feel as though I was contributing to the fight against climate change in a very real way!

Sydney Hamilton, ELC Clinic Student (Spring 2019)