With Fossil Fuel Advertisements in Canada, Truth Should Always Prevail

With Fossil Fuel Ads in Canada, Truth Should Always Prevail cover

Events of February 2024 show why we must continue to engage in balanced, fact-based and honest discussions about Canada’s responsibly produced oil and gas and the vital role it has to play at home and abroad.

First, it was the private members’ Bill C-372 introduced to the House of Commons to ban all fossil fuel advertisements country-wide. Now, several environmental groups are asking the City of Ottawa to review its advertising policies, requesting a ban on “misleading” ads that promote oil and gas as a climate solution to reducing global emissions by, let’s say, displacing coal-fired power generation abroad with responsibly produced Canadian liquefied natural gas (LNG).

But there’s just one problem. The broad scientific consensus on coal-to-gas switching to reduce emissions from energy production – the claim these environmental groups call “misleading” – is that it works, and very well so. Several real-world examples show how positive coal-to-gas switching can be for the climate.

So then, what is it about the truth that these opponents don’t like, and why are they trying to prevent this critical discussion from occurring?

Victoria bus ads 3

Adam Pankratz, Lecturer at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, best summarizes the accusations of “misleading” fossil fuels ads from environmentalist groups.

“Of the misinformation out there, a good deal, if not a majority, comes from groups opposing fossil fuels. Whereas any oil or gas company must provide national regulators scientifically valid proof of the safety or viability of their projects, there is no equivalent standard or scrutiny for the hyperbole and panic driven messages emanating from eco-groups doing everything they can to stop fossil fuel development,” Pankratz wrote in an opinion piece for the National Post shortly after Bill C-372’s unveiling.

We need a pragmatic approach to reducing energy and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which will benefit Canada and the world. This approach must consider several key factors.

The world is powered overwhelmingly by coal, oil, and natural gas, while global demand for those critical products is at record highs and still growing. As long as the trend continues, countries will find supplies and, if not from Canada, likely from much less transparent and responsible producers with little to no protections for human rights and the environment.

BC lng skytrain ad

We are long-time, proud supporters of all forms of energy supply including oil, gas, hydro, wind, solar, and others. Canada has a skilled workforce, research and development track record, and natural resource availability to supply oil and gas responsibly. Demand for those energy products should be supplied by Canadian workers, thus benefitting our families, Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, and our fellow citizens country-wide.

On the aforementioned Bill C-372, Stephen Buffalo, CEO of the Indian Resource Council and Senior Fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, stated: “Most First Nations people support carefully managed resource and infrastructure development. We need our own resource revenue to break free from our dependence on government and to chart our own futures.”

Mr. Buffalo is just one of many Indigenous leaders speaking out against anti-oil and natural gas narratives present in the country.

Research shows significant environmental benefits to be gained by substituting Canadian LNG for coal and that major emitters such as India and China can substantially reduce their CO2 emissions by switching.

For example, Kasumu et al. (Country-Level Life Cycle Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Liquefied Natural Gas Trade for Electricity Generation, Environ. Sci. Technol., American Chemical Society) demonstrated that, when replacing coal in Chinese energy facilities, BC LNG produces lower total life-cycle emissions. Even greater benefits are realized when we electrify the LNG process as we have done in Canada, given our electricity source is largely clean hydro.

ottawa energy ad billboard

This study is just one of many that show the significant environmental benefits associated with displacing coal-fired power plants abroad with responsibly produced Canadian natural gas.

A pragmatic approach means taking steps to support the prosperity of Canadian employees, contractors, families, Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, and governments while reducing global emissions. (This notion mirrors the three key aspects of sustainability: environment, community and economy.)

For the above reasons, we think Canadians deserve access to a broader conversation about their place in a sustainable future.

When it comes to fossil fuel ads in Canada based on academic analysis and the broad scientific consensus, the truth should always prevail.

BC LNG ad airport

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