Limited access to the Canada Pavilion at COP28 for oil companies

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After inviting several representatives of the oil and gas industry to last year’s United Nations climate conference, the Trudeau government told Le Devoir that this heavyweight in the country’s greenhouse gas emissions record has thus say been removed from the program in view of the next conference, COP28, which opens on Thursday.

Last year, three events held at the Canada pavilion during the climate conference in Egypt (COP27) involved representatives of the fossil fuel industry, which drew strong criticism from the environmental movement. Three senior executives from the oil company Enbridge, which operates a major North American network of gas and pipelines, were also part of the Canadian delegation.

However, the situation should be different this year. Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), however, did not want to send Le Devoir the list of members of the delegation. “A link to the complete list of the Canadian delegation” will certainly be published, but only after COP28, the ministry indicated by email.

“The full participation of Canadians from all regions of the country and all sectors of the economy is essential to developing an effective path forward to achieve Canada’s 2030 and 2050 climate goals, and to building a prosperous economy,” adds ECCC.

Oil sands

According to information made public to date, only one event planned at the Canada Pavilion in the United Arab Emirates will allow representatives directly linked to the oil and gas industry to speak. This is a panel on “industrial decarbonization”.

The vice-president of external relations of the New Ways Alliance, Mark Cameron, is due to participate. This alliance brings together six companies which exploit almost all of the oil from the tar sands and which claim to be able to achieve “carbon neutrality” in the context of their production activities by 2050. This would involve deployment at very large-scale carbon capture and storage projects, a technology whose effectiveness has not yet been demonstrated on a commercial scale.

The Competition Bureau is also conducting an investigation to determine whether the New Ways Alliance, a group very active in lobbying the federal government, is using deceptive commercial practices by claiming that oil exploitation is on the path to carbon neutrality.

The executive director of the Alberta Industrial Heartland Association, Mark Plamondon, will take part in the same panel. This grouping includes cities located in an industrial region which concentrates activities linked to the exploitation and marketing of fossil fuels.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith will also join a panel on “Alberta’s regulatory system for technological innovation and emissions reduction.” The province’s greenhouse gas emissions are the highest of all Canadian provinces, and they have continued to increase in recent years.

Ms. Smith also publicly opposed several key measures of the federal climate plan, including carbon pricing.


For the head of Greenpeace Canada’s Climate-Energy campaign, Patrick Bonin, no representative of the “oil lobby” should benefit from a platform in the Canadian pavilion.

“This is further proof that the oil lobby continues to exercise disproportionate influence over the Trudeau government. “By partnering with major tar sands oil producers, the government is once again inviting the wolf into the fold, while oil and gas lobbyists should not be tolerated at UN climate conferences,” he said. -he.

“Équiterre will always be in favor of all parties concerned taking part in discussions on the just transition to plan the exit from fossil fuels when their contribution is constructive and honest,” underlines Andréanne Brazeau, climate policy analyst at Équiterre. . “However, the New Ways Alliance has been spreading disinformation and greenwashing across Canada on several physical, digital and television platforms, in French and English, for months. Giving him a voice at the Canada pavilion is unacceptable. »

The office of the minister responsible for ECCC, Steven Guilbeault, does not see things the same way. “The Canadian delegation should not be tainted by the presence of a few individuals. In fact, the Canadian delegation is the most diverse, with clean technologies having three times as many delegates as oil and gas,” explains the firm by email.

The minister’s office even claims that environmental groups “have succeeded in excluding oil and gas from the COPs” since the industry is not organizing any events this year, unlike COP27, and only one panel gives them a role. foreground. “I hope that these delegates will make a valuable contribution to the fight against climate change, proportional to the impact of industry in fueling the climate crisis,” underlines Steven Guilbeault.

Last year, at COP27, more than 600 lobbyists from the fossil fuel industry were present. This year, even before the start of the conference, the BBC revealed on Monday that the president of COP28, Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, would have tried to take advantage of his position to conclude commercial agreements linked to fossil fuels for the oil company and gas company that he manages.

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