OTTAWA — Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault isn't warming to the idea of combating climate change by imposing a windfall tax on the massive profits being posted by some Canadian oil and gas producers.
During the annual UN General Assembly in New York City this week, Secretary-General António Guterres said fossil fuel companies are making massive profits and should be taxed extra to pay for climate action and deliver help to people struggling with their energy and food bills.
Guterres said the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world have contributed the least to the climate crisis but are bearing the brunt of "its most brutal impacts."
"The fossil fuel industry is feasting on hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies and windfall profits while household budgets shrink and our planet burns," he said.
When asked if Canada would follow Guterres' request during a call with reporters Thursday, Guilbeault did not directly say yes or no. Rather, he said Canada is already ensuring fossil fuel companies pay their fair share toward climate action through carbon pricing and regulations.
"I think the secretary-general was also talking about the fact that fossil fuel companies need to be paying for climate change pollution and that's exactly what we're doing in Canada with carbon pricing," Guilbeault said.
He said the government is also putting in place regulations beyond just carbon pricing that force oil and gas companies to cut their carbon footprints.
That includes an overall cap on oil and gas sector emissions and specific regulations on methane from oil and gas production, and on overall emissions from producing and using gasoline and diesel.
Global oil prices surged last winter following the Russian invasion in Ukraine, driving up profits for oil and gas companies worldwide.
In the first six months of this year, Canada's four biggest oilsands producers reported more than $21 billion in profits, more than three times their profits in the same period last year.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 22, 2022.
Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press