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Sask. Reviewing Federal Decision to End Fuel Subsidies as Environmental Group Welcomes Decision

Saskatchewan’s minister of energy and resources says the province is reviewing the federal government’s decision to end “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies, and remains concerned over ongoing federal changes that negatively impact the province’s industries. 

“The information available lays out criteria but does not provide specifics as to which programs will actually be affected,” said Jim Reiter in a statement. 

The plan to phase out subsidies was revealed on Monday by Steven Guilbeault, the federal environment and climate change minister. 

“We’re eliminating subsidies to produce fossil fuels in Canada, unless those subsidies are aimed at de-carbonizing the emissions of the sector,” Guilbeault said.

The decision makes Canada the first country among wealthy, heavy-emitting nations to do so, according to the federal government. 

The commitment dates back to 2009, when the countries that make up the G20 publicly promised to “phase out and rationalize … inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” over the “medium term.”

According to the G20 communique, such subsidies “encourage wasteful consumption, reduce our energy security, impede investment in clean energy sources and undermine efforts to deal with the threat of climate change.” 

Peter Prebble, a board member of the Saskatchewan Environmental Society, commended the federal government for its policy — even if it’s taken 14 years to get here. 

Prebble said he expects this will force Canada’s oil and gas companies to finance themselves more in order to cover for the deficit in subsidies from the federal government. 

He also believes the federal government’s decision reflects the reality of a Canada grappling with the effects of climate change. 

“You know we’re entering a time now, as we see from the wildfire situation across Canada this summer, that climate change is becoming a really urgent issue to address and that means that fossil fuel production has to be cut back in a really significant way,” Prebble said. 

Reiter’s statement did not indicate whether the province will follow the federal government’s lead and slash provincially provided subsidies, but Prebble said he believes that to be unlikely. 

In a statement, Lisa Baiton, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), said the organization is “generally aligned” with the framework released by the federal government Monday. 

“We are pleased to see the recognition that partnering with industry to invest in technologies to help decarbonize Canada’s economy remains an important part of reaching the government’s climate change and energy priorities as well as support for Indigenous participation in resource projects,” Baiton wrote. 

Source : CBC