Contrary to climate science and the Paris Agreement, all eight assessed companies plan to increase fossil fuel production
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND and OTTAWA, CANADA | Traditional, unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg People — The climate plans of major oil and gas companies operating in Canada rank among the worst worldwide and will accelerate the climate crisis rather than help Canada and the world limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (ºC), according to a new report launched today at the UN Climate Change Conference.
The assessment by Environmental Defence Canada and Oil Change International, titled Canada’s Big Oil Reality Check, assesses eight of Canada’s top oil and gas producers, including Imperial (ExxonMobil) and Shell. It finds they are all on track to increase their oil and gas production in Canada, rather than planning a fair transition away from fossil fuels that are fuelling the climate crisis.
The climate plans of CNRL, Cenovus, Suncor, Imperial (ExxonMobil), Tourmaline, ARC Resources, Ovintiv, and Shell were put through a comprehensive 10-part assessment of their ambition, integrity, and transition planning. None of the eight oil and gas companies had produced plans that came even close to the bare minimum for alignment with the Paris Agreement’s objective of limiting warming to 1.5ºC. Only Suncor and Shell even consider the emissions from burning the oil and gas they produce — which represents over 80 percent of the companies’ total carbon pollution — and even those pledges were vague and inadequate.
“The expansion plans of these oil and gas companies would continue to undo climate action taking place in Canada on other sources of emissions,” said Dale Marshall, National Climate Program Manager at Environmental Defence. “Canada’s federal government must step in to manage the decline in fossil fuel production. The federal government has tools within its jurisdiction, including a robust climate test as part of the impact assessment process, an export ban for new oil and gas production, passing a Just Transition Act to support workers and communities, and rejecting all interprovincial pipelines, including TMX. The government’s proposed cap on emissions addresses at most 20-30 percent of the problem.”
“The industry that has done the most to cause the climate crisis won’t solve it. Big oil and gas companies across Canada and the world will not manage their own decline,” said David Tong, Global Industry Campaign Manager at Oil Change International. “The reality is that to limit warming to 1.5ºC, we need a managed decline in oil and gas production.”
This year, the International Energy Agency concluded that to be on track to net-zero emissions by 2050 and limit warming to 1.5ºC, companies should stop investing in new oil and gas projects, and governments should stop approving them.
Meanwhile, as Dale Marshall noted, “The companies studied — four of which represent the Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero coalition — all want to increase production, have no credible plans to achieve net-zero emissions, point to false solutions such as carbon capture and storage as the ‘anchor’ of their strategy, and expect governments to give them CAD 50 billion in subsidies to realize their expensive, unrealistic plans. This buildout of new oil, gas, and CCS projects would also come in direct conflict with Canada’s commitments to Indigenous rights. There is nothing in place in company plans or government policy to ensure Indigenous communities’ right to full free, prior, and informed consent is upheld.”
David Tong continued, “Last year, our original Big Oil Reality Check found that not even one of the biggest international oil and gas companies came anywhere close to taking serious efforts to align their business with 1.5ºC. Now, this research shows that all eight major Canadian companies studied are amongst the worst worldwide, despite all their rhetoric about net zero.”
Canada’s Big Oil Reality Check was produced in collaboration with Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-BC, Climate Action Network-Réseau action climate Canada, Climate Emergency Unit, Conservation Council of New Brunswick, David Suzuki Foundation, Équiterre, Greenpeace, Indigenous Climate Action, LeadNow, Shift Action for Pension Wealth and Planet Health, Stand.earth, West Coast Environmental Law, Wilderness Committee, and 350.org.
The report is available at: https://environmentaldefence.ca/report/canada-big-oil-reality-check.
About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.
About OIL CHANGE INTERNATIONAL (priceofoil.org): Oil Change International is a research, communication, and advocacy organization focused on exposing the true costs of fossil fuels and facilitating the ongoing transition towards clean energy.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
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Dale Marshall, Environmental Defence Canada, +1 613-868-9917, firstname.lastname@example.org (Glasgow)
Allen Braude, Environmental Defence Canada, email@example.com (EDT)
David Tong, Oil Change International, +64 21-250-6375, firstname.lastname@example.org (NZDT)
Kelly Trout, Oil Change International, +1 717-439-0346, email@example.com (EDT)