Kicking the oil subsidies habit
11 Jul 2010
Canada’s leadership is standing by its fossil fuel subsidies, despite earlier pledges to get rid of them, the Vancouver Sun reports.
At the G20 meeting—the rich countries’ club—in Toronto in June, one of the things they were supposed to work on was getting rid of these subsidies. For one thing, when budgets are tight, then there’s no reason to subsidize an industry that is, by and large, making record profits.
But according to leaked documents from the G20 meeting, which ClimateWire got a hold of, Canada wasn’t going to end their subsidies.
Why not? The Vancouver Sun article doesn’t say. My guess is that it’s because Canada has a lot of work going on to wrest gasoline from their vast deposits of oil sands. According to the government of the province of Alberta that’s working on this, the deposits are ” the second largest source of oil in the world after Saudi Arabia.”
I think Canada and its companies don’t want to give up on the decades-long dream of developing the oil sands. For the most part, they’re not economical yet, and big oil companies that had oil sands projects going pulled the plug when the economic crash took its bite. But some companies are rushing back into oil sands now.
One way to fight this would be to put a modest price on carbon emissions. From well to tailpipe, gasoline from oil sands put out a lot more CO2 than regular gasoline. (Although, barrel for barrel, compared with deepwater drilling, it does cause less oil covered seabirds.) With a price on carbon, oil sands will look a lot less attractive. But getting Canada to agree to that is a whole other matter.