Second carbon contract is a positive step, broader program needed

Uncertainty about the future of industrial carbon markets is holding up low-carbon investments

Alberta Pexels credit Samuel Butikofer

Clean Prosperity Executive Director Michael Bernstein made the following statement about the carbon contract for difference announced today between the Canada Growth Fund, Gibson Energy Inc., and Varme Energy Inc. 

“The deal announced today is another positive step in the rollout of carbon contracts for difference to de-risk big low-carbon investments,” said Bernstein.

“That’s what it will take to deliver on the promise of industrial carbon pricing, backed by carbon contracts for difference, to drive investment and reduce emissions. Without a broad-based program of contracts for difference, our research shows that Canada could miss out on up to 33 megatonnes per year of industrial emissions reductions by 2030.”

“Now, the federal government urgently needs to translate the Growth Fund’s expertise into a broad-based program of standardized contracts for difference that are accessible to low-carbon projects across the Canadian economy.”

Michael Bernstein, executive director, Clean Prosperity

“Canada needs to reduce industrial emissions by 155 megatonnes by 2030 to achieve its climate targets. We have no way of systematically unlocking that decarbonization without a broad-based program of carbon contracts for difference.” 

This is the second carbon contract for difference signed by the Growth Fund, following a December 2023 deal with Entropy Inc. Clean Prosperity cannot comment on the details of the project itself.

“Uncertainty about the future of industrial carbon markets is still holding up low-carbon investment across Canada,” said Bernstein. “Carbon contracts for difference can give firms the confidence to make big investments, by guaranteeing the future value of the carbon credits that their projects will generate.”

“Now the federal government and the Canada Growth Fund should follow through on plans announced in Budget 2024 to explore off-the-shelf contracts for difference, and to look at the possibility of the government backstopping the Growth Fund’s contracts.”

“Accelerating the carbon contracts for difference program will accelerate investment, and drive big reductions in industrial emissions.”

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