Justin will tell you they're only kicking in something in the order of $2.5 billion a year in carbon energy subsidies. He's lying. Says who? How about the International Monetary Fund, that's who. The entire report, in pdf, can be found here.
How to explain the discrepancy? It's a matter of just what you put on the books and what you hide. The IMF defines subsidies as "fuel consumption times the gap between existing and efficient prices (i.e., prices warranted by supply costs, environmental costs, and revenue considerations)."
The Alberta government was stung by the release of an internal study showing that the province faces a remediation bill upwards of $260-billion for the Athabasca tar pit tailing ponds, orphaned wells, etc. Somebody is going to pay for that eventually. That somebody is you or, more accurately, your kids and your grandkids. We don't put those costs on the books yet because that would be terrible politically and we can still kick that can down the road. We keep all sorts of costs off the book such as the value of natural capital, unpriced resources (that belong to the public) that are doled out year after year, royalty and tax deferrals and more.
An essay by U Vic. environmental lawyers, Erin Gray and Calvin Sandborn, reviews the latest IMF numbers. The authors begin by questioning the merit of massive subsidies of the world's most prosperous industry.
Such subsidies not only hurt Canadian taxpayers and the economy — they also exacerbate the climate emergency.
Indeed, the G20 countries have already agreed that subsidizing fossil fuels is irrational in a warming world — and have called for action to eliminate inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that distort markets.
The problem is that subsidies encourage the production and wasteful consumption of fossil fuels all while impeding the shift to cleaner renewables.In other words, the Auditor General dismisses the government's claims on subsidies as just more horse shit.
For these reasons, during the last election campaign Justin Trudeau sensibly committed to “phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.”
The problem is that government has not yet delivered on this promise.
A new 2019 report by Canada’s Auditor General reveals government’s review of such subsidies is “incomplete and not rigorous,” is “not based on all relevant and reliable information” and “did not consider economic, social and environmental sustainability over the long term.”
It's a fine article that lays bare the lengths that this government, like the Harper regime before it, goes to in order to mask what's really going on. They're cooking the books and, in the process, stealing your grandkids' future.
The IMF estimates that elimination of global fossil fuel subsidies would reduce CO2 emissions by 28 per cent and reduce premature air pollution deaths by 46 per cent.
Equally important, the IMF concluded that elimination of subsidies would actually result in a net economic gain. Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies will be a win for the environment andfor the economy.
In sum, Canada needs to implement robust carbon taxes to pay for the massive climate change costs that society now confronts.These are vultures, feasting on the carcass of the future leaving nothing but stripped bones and fur.
Just as important, Canada must finally follow through on its specific promise to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.
After all, claiming to fight climate change while subsidizing fossil fuels is as crazy as brushing your teeth while eating Oreos. It may make you feel virtuous, but it isn’t going to work.