Environmental Leadership in Natural Resources
People, plant and prosperity - we want all three, and we can't have one without the other.
As Canadians, we should feel proud for many reasons. Whether it’s our exceptional quality of life, our unique culture or our stunning landscapes, there’s something for everyone to love about Canada. As humans we also have a massive impact on our environment. Thankfully, there are many ways we can shape our lifestyles to coexist harmoniously within nature, rather than work against it.
At Canada Action, we encourage Canadians to respect and protect the earth. History teaches us that as technology progresses, our ability to adapt in sustainable ways also improves. Living in such a remarkable country so blessed with an educated workforce and abundance of natural resources, we can think ahead to the future and act not only for ourselves, but for future generations.
That future includes Canada's natural resource industry, which is essential to our communities, economy and environment. We can’t sacrifice one for another; we must equally support and protect all three from coast-to-coast-to-coast.
For a stronger and better Canada, we need sustainable solutions that address people, the planet, and prosperity. At Canada Action, we seek a future that balances all of these factors.
Diversifying the Energy Sector
Just as Canada prides itself on its cultural diversity, our country has also been endowed with a full spectrum of natural resources that contribute to our enviable quality of life. That includes non-renewable energy which has been a backbone of Canadian livelihoods for years and will continue to be a crucial element of the economy for the forseeable future.
However, our diverse economy is key to our adaptability / protecting the environment while contributing to the prosperity of Canada's current and future generations. We strive to balance our communities, economy and environment, the three key values that comprise sustainability through which we can also foster prosperity for Canadians from coast-to-coast.
We know various other natural resources show promise. Whether it’s nuclear, wind or solar, tidal or geothermal, or biomass from wood waste, Canadians are stepping up to the plate to develop sustainable solutions that benefit people and the planet.
Climate Action in Canada: Facts
- Canada ranks 4th on the Global Cleantech Innovation Index 2019, contributing to the global market for clean technology which is estimated to grow to $2.2 trillion by 2022
- Researchers at University of Calgary are developing the novel rechargeable lithium-ion battery which shows great potential for long-term energy storage for renewables
- Canada currently gets about 82% of its electricity demand from non-emission sources such as hydro, solar, wind and nuclear
- Nuclear energy, which emits no GHGs, accounts for about 15% of Canada's total electric power generation
- Solar power will soon cost less than coal, which will aid in the reduction of carbon emissions and lower costs for investors and consumers globally
- Electricity Transformation Canada is collaborating with wind energy, solar energy, energy storage and other complementary technologies on a plan to deliver a low-cost and efficient smart electricity grid
What About Non-Renewables?
Alongside developing sustainable solutions to carry us into the future, non-renewables play a major role in all of our lives. Whether it’s natural gas, nuclear power, or the countless petroleum and mining products that we rely on, the extractive industries are an essential factor in Canadian quality of life.
As we continue to develop low emissions technologies, mining and oil and gas remain essential to help us bring them about. After all, Canada’s environmental standards in mining and oil and gas are among the most stringent in the world, so it’s no surprise these sectors will play a crucial role in helping Canada transition to an even lower-emission future.
Here are some ways that mining and oil and gas are linked to renewables and are helping build bridges to a more diversified, resilient Canadian economy:
5 Examples of How Renewables & Fossil Fuels are Interlinked
1. Hydropower turbines are commonly made from stainless steel alloys which utilize fossil fuels to be mined and developed
2. Like hydropower, wind energy uses a lot of energy from fossil fuels; from the machinery needed to extract the steel and other materials for turbine construction, to the large trucks and trains that transport it
3. Cobalt, an essential mineral for renewable batteries in electric vehicles and other electric battery storage, is mined on both the ocean floor and terrestrial ore deposits using fossil fuels to do so
4. Manufacturing is where solar panels have the biggest environmental impact because they’re made mostly of silicon while the energy required for transportation is also a factor in a panel’s carbon emissions over its life cycle
5. The extensive amount of copper wiring used in electric vehicles must be mined from the earth and then processed using energy generated by fossil fuels
Indigenous Communities & Climate Action
Indigenous Peoples are caretakers of our planet who are aware of and respect the gifts of their environment. They have a special relationship with the earth and all living things in it. That relationship is the foundation upon which Indigenous Peoples approach natural resource development in Canada.
Indigenous rights, reconciliation and meaningful participation are integral to the conversation of responsible resource development in Canada. Their connection to the discussion of protecting the environment and taking climate action is crucial.
However, the stances of Indigenous communities from coast-to-coast vary greatly, yet they are so often lumped into one overarching opinion. In Canada, there are more than 600 First Nations as well as many Metis and Inuit communities that naturally have differing views on things such as the climate, economy, and the way they would like to participate in these areas.
Not all nations favour pipeline development, just like not all oppose it. It’s important that all of these opinions are considered equally, as independently, they all have merit and desire different things.
> Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Squamish Nation, Coldwater Indian Band and a coalition of small First Nations in the Fraser Valley are examples of First Nations that oppose developments like the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX) in B.C.
> Conversely, there are over 120 out of 129 other First Nations along the TMX route and another 130 First Nations represented by the Indian Resource Council that are either in favour of or are not opposed to the project
> The First Nations Major Projects Coalition is a group of First Nations who are strongly upholding their right to ownership and meaningful participation within major projects occurring on their land
> The Mohawk Council of Kanesatake, a First Nation in Quebec, has taken a very clear stance on its anti-development views for the protection of its people and its lands
> First Nations LNG Alliance is an advocacy group on behalf of First Nations, speaking out for their support of responsible natural resource development regarding LNG in British Columbia
For more information about Indigenous involvement in natural resource development, visit our Indigenous page, or check out Indigenous Resource Network, a network of Indigenous voices that are supportive of Indigenous participation in resource development.
As the world moves towards a lower-emissions future, Canada will undoubtedly continue to be a world-leader - as it has been in the past - by introducing innovative ideas and developing clean technologies to make that a reality.
Many of the companies introducing those new technologies and ideas to reduce waste and better protect the environment, for example, are part of the natural resource sector.
We must support our world-class natural resource companies who are leaders in protecting people and the planet. What's good for the future of Canadian natural resource companies is also good for the our global environment, both now and into the future!
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