The Trudeau government will soon announce the details of a national clean fuel standard (CFS). Unlike the court cases over carbon price, this set of regulations has been flying under the radar, though its impact cannot be understated. The CFS is a linchpin to reaching Canada’s soon-to-be legislated 2030 and 2050 climate targets. Yet after three years of planning and consultation, the fossil fuel industry is lobbying to delay or scrap the policy now that it’s set to roll out next year. Canadians need to know that without federal direction to curb carbon pollution, Canada risks irreversibly contributing to climate change. This is a crucial moment for our government to put the health and sustainability of Canadians first, and reject the self-interested demands of sectors resisting innovation.
How does the CFS work?
The clean fuel standard establishes a practical and predictable approach for removing 30 million tonnes of carbon every year without affecting daily life. That is equal to about 10% of our 2030 target or taking seven million cars off the road. Fuel suppliers will be required to reduce the amount of carbon pollution associated with their product and are offered significant flexibility on implementation. Reductions could look like blending conventional fuels with biofuels or hydrogen, reducing carbon emissions in the production process, or supporting the switch to clean electricity through electric vehicles.
Alternatively, suppliers could purchase credits from other companies that have exceeded their performance goals or pay into a compliance fund, and could even carry over obligations to a future year. There’s no shortage of ways that fuel companies are being supported in a transition to cleaner fuel.
What’s in it for Canadians?
Most importantly, the clean fuel standard inspires an exciting vision for Canada. It will enable thriving domestic industries, increase the GDP by an estimated $5.6 billion over the next decade, and create as many as 24,000 net new jobs. It sends a clear market signal to drive investment into innovation and clean technologies that reduce carbon emissions while building a resilient, competitive economy. Burgeoning cleantech sectors like electric vehicles and charging are rapidly taking off globally, and Canadian markets that resist diversifying will be left behind.
What’s at stake
Let’s be clear: Canada is not on track to meet its climate targets under the Paris Agreement. In fact, Canada has never met a single target. That’s why the uncompromised delivery of this policy, and keeping it on schedule, is essential to fulfilling this government’s campaign promises. Those who oppose it have a responsibility to propose credible alternatives to replace the expected 30 million tonnes of carbon reduction that this set of regulations is designed to achieve. To date, they have failed to do so, making it clear that their real agenda is derailing climate action altogether.
All levels of government must do their part
As an organization working on practical solutions to climate change, TAF is dedicated to helping cities and municipalities implement their climate and energy plans. Municipalities are working hard within their authorities to decarbonize heating and transportation systems, invest in renewables, and create sustainable communities. We cannot go the distance without the federal government using their unique tools and delivering what only they can: the clean fuel standard as planned next year. There is no fairer way to enable cities, provinces, and the country to meet their emissions targets, and get Canadians back to work in a prosperous economy.
For FAQs and further reading on the CFS, see this TAF-funded handy explainer from the Pembina Institute.