Give it up for the Earth! 2018: Put an end to fossil fuel subsidies
Give it up for the Earth! ran for the second time in 2018. During Lent – February 14-March 29 – people of faith across the country participated. Nearly 150 churches, schools, and religious orders from nine denominations – Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Christian Reformed, Lutheran, Mennonite, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, and United – and several ecumenical and inter-faith networks took up the campaign in 90 towns and cities. Bible studies, discussion groups, and creative events took place in all 10 provinces and the Yukon, all highlighting our call to care for the Earth through personal action and political engagement. Teenagers and school-aged kids featured prominently in this year’s campaign with teachers, chaplains, and the kids themselves leading the charge in Edmonton, Ottawa, and the GTA.
In 2018 the focus of the campaign was ending fossil fuel subsidies. The oil and gas sector is the largest single contributor to Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and by extension, the main Canadian driver of climate change. At the G20 summit in 2009, Canada pledged to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies over the medium term. This commitment was reiterated in the 2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals, the 2015 Liberal election platform, and the 2016 North American Leaders’ Summit. While some changes have been made, fossil fuel companies in Canada continue to receive approximately $1.6 billion in federal subsidies every year.
As such, people across Canada pledged to reduce their own reliance on oil and gas and reduce their own GHG emissions for a six-week period. Some also made it clear that they were making a life-long commitment.
In addition to taking action to reduce food waste, support eco-friendly businesses, and minimize the use of plastics, Canadians signed a postcard to Catherine McKenna, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, calling for an immediate end to fossil fuel subsidies and strategic investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and skills development. The 2,500+ cards were delivered to Minister McKenna in July.
Following the conclusion of Give it up for the Earth!, CPJ wrote a letter to Bill Morneau, federal Minister of Finance to reiterate the urgency of following through on Canada’s commitment to phase-out subsidies to the fossil fuel sector. After our meeting with Minister McKenna, we also reemphasized these asks in a letter to Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources.