The Many Problems with Bill 31: The Captured Carbon Storage Act

The Many Problems with Bill 31: The Captured Carbon Storage Act

What is Bill 31?
The Captured Carbon Storage Act creates a regulatory framework for the approval of activities associated with carbon capture and storage projects. If passed, this bill will give the Minister of Economic Development, Investment, Trade, and Natural Resources power to regulate how, where, and by whom captured carbon emissions are stored underground.

Bill 31 was introduced in April 2024, without any prior consultation with the public, or the environmental community. However, the Honourable Minister Jamie Moses indicated that consultation sessions and meetings were held with industry stakeholders including New Flyer industry, Canadian Kraft Paper, North Forge, Carbon Block, Keystone agriculture producers, Carbon Block, Koch Fertilizer, and Tundra Oil & Gas (Hansard, May 21, 2024).

What should be done?
We recommend withdrawing Bill 31 until there is more public engagement on carbon capture technology. The environmental community is puzzled by the government’s investment in an unproven and expensive technology. To address the climate crisis, other proven solutions with broader support and lower costs should be prioritized instead.

Critiquing Carbon Capture and Storage
Despite being promoted for 20 years, carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology has not proven effective in reducing carbon emissions. Only 30 commercial CCS projects exist worldwide, capturing less than 0.2% of the needed emissions reductions. CCS is highly energy-intensive, often increasing the energy demand of facilities by 15-25%, which can lead to more carbon emissions.

CCS is also extremely expensive, costing billions of dollars, with much of the cost often falling on taxpayers. Local climate organizations have identified lower cost, and more effective ways to reduce carbon emissions in our province.

Manitobans can’t afford to pay for risky CCS investments!

Better Climate Solutions are Needed

The Government of Manitoba should invest in proven solutions to reduce emissions instead of carbon capture and storage (CCS). Effective strategies include:

  • Developing wind and solar energy projects.
  • Reducing vehicle use and promoting electric vehicles.
  • Expanding electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
  • Enhancing building energy efficiency.
  • Using geothermal systems for heating and cooling.
  • Providing reliable climate change education and regular progress reports.

Despite promises to be a “listening government,” there have been missed opportunities for public engagement on new environmental laws, like changes to The Environment Act and The Manitoba Hydro Act.

Withdrawing Bill 31 until meaningful public consultation is held would show the government is actually listening.

We welcome future engagement with the government about new legal and policy measures that support sustainable development, address the climate crisis, and ensure the protection of the environment for the benefit of current and future generations.

If you would like to read our full submission on Bill 31, please click here.