Climate taxonomy proposal asks feds to include oilsands-related spending

TORONTO — The federal government has released proposed guidelines, submitted to it by an independent group of finance experts, on what investments should be considered worthy in the fight against climate change.

Clarity around what's considered eligible is meant to increase investment in these areas. Experts estimate upwards of an additional $115 billion per year in investment will be needed to meet Canada's net zero by 2050 target.

The taxonomy report by the Sustainable Finance Action Council proposes including both widely accepted green investments like solar panels and electric vehicles, as well as a more contentious "transition" category for emission reduction efforts in heavy industry, including the oilsands.

Environmental groups have criticized the inclusion of oilsands-related investments, as well as so-called blue hydrogen, in the transition category. They say such projects will still have significant emissions, and there are clear alternatives.

The council proposes intensifying restrictions around what type of emissions-reduction efforts for fossil fuel projects would be eligible, but says it's important to reduce emissions from oil and gas production since demand will exist for decades.

The proposed rules would disqualify any coal projects or the development of new oilfields from being included, but there is still much to be worked out with feedback still to come from both the federal and provincial governments.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2023.

Ian Bickis, The Canadian Press