Canada needs a “national vision” that will enable it to “share its energy prosperity abroad and drive to a lower-carbon economy at home,” the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said in a Tuesday release, on the eve of Natural Resources Canada’s two-day Generation Energy conference in Winnipeg.
The fossil lobby’s six-point plan called on the federal government for “a national vision for oil and gas development” that includes “accessing world markets, effective regulatory outcomes, a commitment to innovation, global climate leadership, and enabling a fiscal framework to achieve the vision.”
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It added that Ottawa should convene a national clean energy task force, with oil and gas representatives at the table, to boost research and development and commit to “a fiscal framework that encourages investment in Canadian oil and gas innovation,” Oil & Gas Journal reports. The analysis behind that call to action focused on projected world population growth and Canada’s large fossil reserves, JWN Energy reports—but apparently not on the rise of increasingly cost-effective renewable energy and energy storage, or the immediate need to drastically reduce fossil-related carbon emissions.
The CAPP recommendations, based on an upcoming report, proceed from the assumption that “Canada can both share its energy prosperity with the world and drive to a lower-carbon economy at home—but only if governments choose to develop the country’s oil and natural gas with competitive policies that attract investment and spur innovation,” JWN notes. But the mix of content at the Generation Energy conference showed that cornerstone assumption losing ground.
“Based on who’s present and who’s talking, the focus of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government is on transitioning the country to renewable energy to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets, while showing due respect for the sectors left behind, primarily oil and gas, regardless of their current role in the Canadian economy and global energy markets,” writes fossil columnist Claudia Cattaneo in the Financial Post.
International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol called for governments to “re-orient energy investment to clean energy, energy efficiency, and carbon capture and storage,” Cattaneo notes. But he added in a later interview that oil and gas will be needed for the foreseeable future for cars and trucks, petrochemicals, aviation, and shipping.
“A country like Canada, a reliable partner, producer, and exporter, has a role to play in the global energy markets, especially Asia, both in terms of oil and gas,” he said. “But we should understand that this production of oil and gas has to be made in a sustainable manner with the best technologies available.”
But futurist and EU advisor Jeremy Rifkin said humanity itself will be at risk if carbon emissions continue beyond mid-century. “It is clear we are in the sunset of this energy era,” he said, and that trillions of dollars in fossil assets are on track to be stranded. Rifkin called on Ottawa to “provide a lighthouse for the rest of the Americas. This is real. We are scared to death.”