OTTAWA — Rick Smith, President of the Canadian Climate Institute, made the following statement in response to the federal government’s 2023 Fall Economic Statement:
“The 2023 Fall Economic Statement confirms the federal government is making headway on measures that will help Canada prosper through the global energy transition. But to deliver the certainty businesses and investors need and the climate results Canadians expect, the pace of implementing crucial policies needs to pick up dramatically.
“The Statement takes several important steps forward. Follow-through on the promised investment tax credits for carbon capture will help mobilize private capital into a technology that may prove critical for Canada’s cement, chemicals, iron and steel, and oil and gas sectors. Demonstrating progress on carbon contracts for difference through the Canada Growth Fund is a sensible way to create greater certainty for investors looking to get big clean growth projects off the ground.
“Yet sluggish implementation of other critical policies risks undermining policy certainty and Canada’s ability to compete in global markets. Long timelines on other promised investment tax credits, for example, will impair much-needed investment in hydrogen, clean tech manufacturing, and especially clean electricity. The federal government should prioritize delivering the clean electricity investment tax credit earlier than the end of 2024, the timeline indicated in the Statement. The Statement also proposes additional development and process for the Canadian climate investment taxonomy, a framework already backed by the 25 largest financial institutions in the country, which would provide clarity on investments and assets that are consistent with domestic and global climate commitments.
“More detail on implementation is also necessary on other actions critical for establishing policy certainty and mobilizing private investment. For example, the Statement proposes to explore options for creating more certainty about future increases to the carbon price, potentially through legislation. Finalizing guaranteed loans for Indigenous communities will accelerate both economic reconciliation and the development of clean growth projects. To support its commitment for future announcements on plans to expedite project approvals, the government should also swiftly introduce changes to the Impact Assessment Act in Budget 2024 to comply with the Supreme Court’s recent decision.
“Finally, the federal government’s emphasis on building new housing is a welcome step and an opportunity to ensure new homes are built to withstand climate change damages and save Canadians money on energy bills. As the costs of disasters mount, climate-proofing new homes will help keep the cost of living down in the long run.
“The design, construction, and operation of everything we need to drive Canada’s net zero transition will create hundreds of thousands of skilled, stable, and well-paid jobs—and lay the foundation for a higher-value economy and more prosperous future. Let’s get on with it. We urge the government to go full-throttle in implementing the remaining policies in its Emissions Reduction Plan to set Canada, and Canadians, firmly on the path to compete and prosper in the global energy transition.”
Canadian Climate Institute