Climate activists blame the feds budget unveiled Thursday by Canada’s Liberal government fails to deliver on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s three-year-old promise to make a “just transition” from fossil fuels and instead takes care of polluters.
“This federal budget is stuck in the mindset of more freeways and fossil fuel subsidies.”
New Democratic Party (NDP) Leader Jagmeet Singh promised his caucus will support the 2022 budget, presented by Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland just days after the latest alarming report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Meanwhile, campaigners have pointed to the report as evidence that Canada’s new budget falls dangerously short of the actions needed by wealthy governments to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of the climate emergency.
“Earlier this week, the world’s top scientists released another IPCC report making it clear that we need to ditch fossil fuels to tackle the climate crisis,” said Katie Perfitt of 350.org. mentioned Thusday. “But today, NDP-backed Justin Trudeau tabled a budget allocating billions of dollars to expensive and inefficient carbon capture technology that does little more than ensure that big oil companies will continue to increase the production of fossil fuels.
“This after he presented a climate plan that would increase tar sands production and gave the green light to the massive Bay du Nord offshore oil project,” she noted.
“If this government were serious about climate change, we still wouldn’t be waiting for the Just Transition Act that Justin Trudeau promised three years and two elections ago,” Perfitt added. “This budget would include billions of dollars to fund this transition, but instead we’re getting more big oil grants and more promises to do more on climate change at another time.”
Specifically, as Atiya Jaffar, head of digital campaigns for 350 Canada, wrote in a blog post – under the new budget, “fossil fuel companies investing in carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) would receive more than $2.6 billion over the next five years and $1.5 billion a year through 2030.”
“This is irresponsible and the opposite of what we need during a climate emergency,” Jaffar warned, saying “these funds should be used to introduce a bold and ambitious Just Transition law that retrains workers from fossil fuels, creates millions of green jobs and accelerates community climate solutions.”
Other activists who organized against the CCUS plan also criticized Thursday’s announcement.
“Minister Freeland bowed to big oil lobbyists and implemented their carbon capture tax subsidy,” declared Julia Levin, senior climate and energy program manager at Environmental Defense. “Carbon capture is not a climate fix – it’s a greenwashing strategy used to justify increased fossil fuel production and funnel more taxpayers’ money into the pockets of executives and shareholders.”
“By relying on unproven future technological solutions to reduce emissions, the government is playing with our lives,” Levin added. “Instead of creating a new fossil fuel subsidy, the government should have invested in proven climate solutions, including renewable energy, efficient affordable housing and electrification of transport.”
Others also pointed to the need for increased funding for transportation while noting that the budget recognizes the government’s recent $750 million commitment to the Keep Transit Moving coalition.
“It’s clear that transit systems in Canada need long-term support. While the $750 million is welcome and needed, it covers less than two months of what our struggling transit systems need this year alone,” said John Di Nino, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union. (ATU) Canada.
Dylan Penner, climate and social justice activist at the Council of Canadians, pointed out that “Trudeau has been promising a just transition for three years” without following through.
“It’s time to deliver,” Penner said. “Public transit is a central part of the solution to the climate crisis and can drive much of the systemic transformation that is needed. We need sustained funding and expansion for green municipal transit and intercity public bus service, but instead this federal budget is frozen. in the spirit of more freeways and fossil fuel subsidies.”
Canada’s 2022 budget includes investments in zero-emission vehicles, renewable electricity, and initiatives to protect oceans and freshwater.
Environmental Defense executive director Tim Gray said it ‘contains hopeful measures, but above all, the federal government should put the needs of the people first, not the oil and gas companies. . investment in creating the cleaner future we need and the prosperity that could come with it.
“The world faces growing ecological and humanitarian crises,” Gray said. “Now is the time to take bold and ambitious action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect our health from chemical pollution in our water and communities, and get rid of single-use plastics.”