Dear Prime Minister Trudeau:
I am writing on behalf of the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada concerning a motion which was adopted at our Synod Assembly this year. The motion (ES 18-05 MSC) reads in part: “We urge the Government of Canada to phase out fossil fuel subsidies and to commit to undertaking a fossil fuel subsidy review under the G20 process…”
I am encouraged by your government’s Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, your efforts at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and by your commitment to take seriously your role as a Climate Change leader, both nationally and internationally.
As a Synod, we believe this means transitioning our economy away from fossil fuels, including and not limited to, ending subsidies to the fossil fuel industry - subsidies that make up extraction incentives and research and development. To continue these subsidies sends a contradictory message and undermines your government’s efforts on climate action in Canada.
While a national plan on carbon pricing is the right step in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, groups like Environmental Defense Canada state that subsidies to the fossil fuel industry will see “more money flow annually from government to oil and gas producers in Canada than the money collected through carbon pricing between now and 2020.”
Given the recent report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change whereby leading scientists are calling for bold action before catastrophic events such as extreme heat, drought, floods, and poverty are commonplace, I commend your efforts thus far, and I urge you to set a clear, transparent timeline for the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies.
Rev. Dr. Michael J. Pryse, Bishop
Eastern Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
cc - The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
The Honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance