Toronto, ON — Julia Langer, CEO, The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) made the following statement in response to Canada’s 2023 budget announcement:
“Today’s federal budget demonstrates that the government is committing to keeping pace with massive clean energy investment in the U.S. and across the globe.
“The unprecedented allocation of funds to build out clean electricity, representing $28 billion over 13 years, is very welcome. We especially commend the government for the expansion of the successful and oversubscribed Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways program, renewing the Smart Grid program, and creating new investments in offshore wind, for a total of $3 billion over 13 years. This reflects recommendations from TAF and other stakeholders representing business and environmental interests. Environmental, social and economic impacts can be maximized by ensuring investment in local, distributed resources, not just mega-infrastructure.
“Eligibility for investment tax credits for clean electricity has been expanded to include crown corporations and publicly owned utilities, corporations owned by Indigenous communities, and other non-taxable entities, with a significantly higher estimated budget envelope ($6.3 billion over four years). These non-taxable entities will qualify for a lower percentage rebate (5-15%), and their access to the tax credit will require provinces to commit to achieving net zero electricity by 2035 while maintaining energy affordability. This sends a strong signal to provinces to plan for a clean grid. However, the list of qualifying clean electricity investments has been expanded to include natural gas power plants with abatement technology (e.g. carbon capture), which is concerning given that such technologies are not currently capable of generating net-zero electricity.
“Replacing fossil-fuel powered heating systems in buildings is the single most compelling opportunity to reduce urban emissions, generate local economic benefits, and improve the health and affordability of housing, which is why TAF and other experts recommended that the government support a heat pump incentive framework. We are concerned that no new investments in energy efficiency retrofits are included in this budget, and funds from the National Housing Strategy have been re-allocated from retrofits to new construction. Increasing support for building new affordable housing shouldn’t come at the expense of investments in retrofitting and improving existing affordable housing.
“Budget 2023 supports electric vehicle manufacturers and the development of the electric vehicle supply chain, however, there is no new funding for charging infrastructure or support for broad EV adoption in Canada. Access to electric vehicle charging has been the biggest barrier to EV adoption, especially in multi-family buildings where roughly one third of Canadians live. With details of the proposed ZEV sales mandate yet to be finalized, Budget 2023 leaves most of the heavy lifting for EV adoption to that policy, which has the potential to generate 430 megatonnes of carbon reductions and $90 billion in benefits to our healthcare system.
“Overall, this budget is a significant commitment to decarbonizing our electricity system and competing with cleantech manufacturing and industry abroad. However, it supports manufacturing and export of clean technology more than it reduces emissions in Canada. As a municipal agency, we seek climate solutions that best translate to local benefits, such as new jobs and healthy, affordable homes. Cities will be looking next for Canada to accelerate sustained funding in systemic changes to support a net-zero economy. Fair and prosperous communities depend on it.”
About The Atmospheric Fund
The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) is a regional climate agency that invests in low-carbon solutions for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and helps scale them up for broad implementation. We are experienced leaders and collaborate with stakeholders in the private, public and non-profit sectors who have ideas and opportunities for reducing carbon emissions. Supported by endowment funds, we advance the most promising concepts by investing, providing grants, influencing policies and running programs. We’re particularly interested in ideas that offer benefits in addition to carbon reduction such as improving people’s health, creating local jobs, boosting urban resiliency, and contributing to a fair society. TAF is a proud member of the Low Carbon Cities Canada network.
Julie Leach, Senior Manager, Campaigns and Communications
Jleach@taf.ca | 416-393-6382