The Trudeau government says it will continue pushing for an expensive second carbon tax in Canada even as the coronavirus pandemic continues to harm the energy sector.

Originally reported by Blacklock’s Reporter, earlier this week Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson told reporters that he will not abandon the new Clean Fuel Standard his government plans to introduce in the House of Commons later this year.

“It’s certainly an important part of the climate plan,” Wilkinson said.

“We intend to move forward, but of course we’re looking for ideas from industry about how we can ensure we do that in a way that’s going to work for them as well.”

Under the Clean Fuel Standard, energy producers will be mandated to reduce the overall amount of carbon dioxide created in the production and consumption of fossil fuels. As a result, producers will have to either blend fuels with biodiesel or ethanol or invest in processes that reduce carbon output during production.

Canadian Energy Research Institute, Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Chemical Industry Association estimates that the Clean Fuel Standard will cost between $150 and $180 per tonne of carbon emissions. 

By comparison, the current carbon tax is capped at $50 a tonne, or twelve cents per litre.

Canada’s energy sector is still trying to recover from the recession caused by coronavirus earlier this year. In April, global oil prices hit unprecedented lows, with most Albertan energy firms dramatically reducing production.

In March, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers requested that the government push the start of the Clean Fuel Standard back three years to allow the industry to recover.

Speaking to reporters, Wilkinson made it clear that he will not pause the Clean Fuel Standard because he wants to address climate change. Wilkinson also cited the ongoing California wildfires as one of the products of climate change they are looking to prevent.

“We want to work to ensure that we are moving towards a low carbon future,” he said.

“We want to work very actively with the oil and gas sector to reduce emissions intensity as we have been doing. We want to work on a plan that will be inclusive for the oil and gas sector on how we achieve net zero by 2050.”

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