Canada’s Trudeau harnesses the oil and natural gas industry to reduce carbon emissions by 2030

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday announced ambitious plans to cut carbon emissions over the next eight years, with the oil and natural gas industry expected to contribute a large part of the reduction.

Among other things, Trudeau has set a goal for the oil and gas industry to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 42% below 2019 levels by 2030.

“The big oil lobbyists have had their time in the field,” Trudeau said at the Globe Forum’s annual environment conference in Vancouver. “Now it’s the turn of workers and engineers to create solutions for their industries, for their communities and for their children. »

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Under Trudeau’s plan, the government would “continue to work closely with provinces and territories, stakeholders and Indigenous partners to develop an approach to limit emissions from the oil and gas sector to achieve net zero by 2050, reduce methane emissions from oil and gas by at least 75%. % by 2030 and create good jobs.

“The plan includes a planned contribution for the oil and gas sector of a reduction of 31% from 2005 levels, which is equivalent to 4% from 2019 levels and will guide the government’s work to develop the cap of emissions from the oil and gas sector. ”

According to the Prime Minister, the plan “reflects submissions from over 30,000 Canadians, provinces and territories, Indigenous partners, industry, civil society and the independent advisory body Net-Zero. The plan represents a whole-of-society approach with practical ways to reduce emissions in all sectors of the economy.

Building on ambitions

The Government of Canada announced in October its goal of reducing methane emissions from oil and gas by 2030 by 75% below 2012 levels. Trudeau, along with President Biden and Mexican President Andrés Maneul López Obrador , pledged to create a North American methane and carbon strategy at a trilateral summit in November.

At the same time, in Ottawa, a federal policy progress report required by the legislation said the definition of the GHG target announced by Trudeau last fall remains a work in progress.

The first version of the objective, which is still official, was a “hard cap” on GHG emissions. After five months of working on a practical meaning, the goal is now “an anticipated oil and gas sector contribution to emission reductions,” according to the policy’s progress report.

The 2030 emissions reduction plan presents the modeling of the “most economically efficient path”, the summary says.

“This will guide the Government of Canada’s work with industry, provinces, Indigenous partners and civil society to define and implement the oil and gas sector’s emissions cap. Following consultations, the cap will be designed to reduce emissions at the rate and scale necessary to reach net zero by 2050.”

The Canadian government attributes annual GHG emissions of 191 million tonnes to the oil and gas industry, or 26% of the national total of 730 million tonnes/year. As the largest producer, Alberta is responsible for 137 million tonnes/year.

Other elements of the federal GHG reduction plan are clearer and priced at C$9.1 billion ($7.3 billion) for government commitments announced to date. Federal subsidies include C$2.9 billion ($2.3 billion) for electric cars, C$850 million ($680 million) for solar and wind power, and C$780 million ($624 million). million) for the preservation of natural carbon sinks such as wetlands and grasslands.