Galvanized by the cancellation of Keystone XL, pipeline detractors are now turning their sights to other major projects such as Line 3, Line 5 and the Trans Mountain Expansion.
I can only imagine some of the rallying cries now bellowing from activists’ mouths (or perhaps clanking away on their keyboards amid pandemic lockdowns) regarding these aforementioned pipeline projects. Surely, it’s something along the lines of “we don’t need energy from oil and gas any longer!”
In a world where the smallest, but loudest vocal groups seem to be the focus in media, a more pragmatic approach towards the evolution of the global energy mix must be taken by the silent majority of Canadians who support our world-class energy sector.
What Do Recent Demand Projections Say?
Take a look at BP’s Energy Outlook 2020, for example, which projects in “BAU” – or its business-as-usual scenario (comparable with the “evolving transition” scenario in previous editions) – that oil and natural gas will remain an integral part of the world’s energy supply for decades to come. Even BP’s “rapid” scenario predicts that fossil fuels will still account for nearly 40 per cent of the world’s total energy mix in 2050.
By no means is the BP Energy Outlook or other reports like it such as the IEA’s World Energy Outlook (which by the way, also predicts that oil and natural gas are not going away anytime soon) the end all, be all predictors of the future global energy supply and demand. However, these reports are arbiters of truth in the sense that both acknowledge several uncertainties introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic which may either drastically increase or decrease demand for fossil fuel energy.
What exactly will happen to oil and gas demand in the years ahead? It’s too early to tell, but if history is any indication of what’s to come in the future, we can expect oil demand to fully recover and continue to increase for many years yet.
Canada is a Global Energy Leader
Whichever the forecasted scenario from BP, the IEA or another energy firm / intergovernmental organization you want to believe, one thing is abundantly clear: the world will need all forms of energy through to 2040 and beyond, including oil and natural gas.
Canadians need to start having a conversation about how a healthy mix of oil, natural gas, hydro, wind, solar, nuclear, biofuels and other emerging renewables such as geothermal and hydrogen will be essential for a world which is set to see its total energy demand increase dramatically over the next several years as a result of population growth largely in developing economies of the world.
Canadians should recognize that we are global leaders in the production of renewable energy and world-class innovators in new clean technologies being used to reduce emissions. Canada currently gets 82 per cent of its total electricity demand from non-emission sources, 67 per cent of which is from renewables. That’s impressive!
Quebec alone has been said to be one of the largest hydro power generating jurisdictions in the world. Meanwhile, 6 Canadian provinces and territories generated more than 94 per cent of their electricity demand from renewable sources in 2017, with those figures increasing ever since. That’s leadership!
And Canada’s oil and gas companies are global leaders in their own respects. Of the world’s top 15 oil reserve holders, Canada ranks 1st on environmental, social, and governance metrics. Of the world’s top 20 oil producers, we rank second in social and governance and fourth in the environmental category. Incredible!
We Don’t Need to Choose Between Oil + Gas & Renewables
The truth is that Canada is a leader in sustainable oil and gas, renewables, nuclear, hydro, wind, and even solar in some respects (with the 19th largest global capacity in 2019). A handful of new solar projects underway in Alberta – the province that’s home to the world’s third largest proven oil reserves – are set to push us even higher on the global solar ranking.
We don’t need to choose between supporting Canadian oil and gas families or those workers who make ends meet through the renewable sector. We can choose both because we are environmental leaders in the production of all forms of energy, and it shouldn’t be any other way.
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