A conveyor moves dirt in Suncor’s Millennium mine in the oilsands in Fort McMurray Alta, on Monday June 13, 2017. Canada’s biggest oilsands producers say they will spend $16.5 billion before 2030 on the first stage of a massive proposed carbon capture and storage facility near Cold Lake, Alta. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

The federal government has released proposed guidelines 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 to help close a climate spending gap that in Canada alone is estimated to be upwards of $115 billion a year.

The taxonomy report written by the Sustainable Finance Action Council proposes to include 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, as they say such projects will still have significant emissions even with reduction efforts, and there are clear alternatives.

The council proposes that there be intensifying restrictions around what emission-reduction efforts on fossil fuel projects would be eligible, but says that there will still be oil and gas demand for decades so it’s also important to reduce emissions on existing production.

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 in terms of details.

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

The Canadian Press

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