Remember learning about binary choices? Here’s a refresher. A binary choice is a choice between two alternatives – and ONLY two alternatives.
But life often doesn’t conform to binary choices.
In Part 1 and Part 2 of this 3-part series of blog posts, I discussed why Canadians shouldn’t have to choose between strong, meaningful climate action and the global leadership the Canadian energy sector has shown at every stage in the production and distribution of our oil and gas.
It’s an example of a binary choice being a false choice.
Whether you’re an Indigenous or a non-Indigenous community member living in rural or urban Canada, you know the value of employment. As of this past summer, fully 6,070 people were working on TMX, including more than 600 Indigenous People. Other projects such as LNG Canada, Coastal GasLink and Keystone XL tell similar stories.
And, as for the full picture of Canada’s record on sustainable energy production, add the following to the long list of proof points:
Examples of Climate Action by Canada's Oil & Gas Sector
> Canadian oil and gas companies are some of the largest investors into renewable energy; they are constructing much of the wind, solar, biofuel, and hydro projects in the country.
> Canada’s energy companies are starting to embrace the transition to a lower-carbon future by supporting electric vehicle initiatives across the country.
> Adaptive governance is increasingly believed to be a major cause of environmental and social sustainability. The Boards of oil sands producers are highly independent and diverse; 75 per cent are independent directors, and 50 per cent are professionals with careers outside of the sector.
> Canada is home to four of 18 large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects currently operating around the world, or about 20 per cent of the world’s total.
> Despite the decline, in 2016 the oil and gas extraction industry had the largest share of expenditures among the 16 industry groups surveyed, spending $3.7 billion, or 44 per cent of total business environmental protection expenditures in Canada.
> Since 2000, flaring volumes of natural gas in Alberta – home to the oil sands - have dropped by 57 per cent, making Canada one of the lowest gas flaring oil producers in the world. In fact, Canada was the first country in the world to commit to reducing methane emissions from oil and gas production by 45 per cent by 2025 (vs. 2012 levels).
> Canada is the only top oil reserve holder and major oil producing country that has sent up a satellite to track and monitor methane emissions from oil production.
> Methane gas flaring associated with oil operations has dropped by 68 per cent since 1996, making Canada one of the lowest gas flaring nations by volume among the world’s top oil producers. If minimal gas flaring standards (like those used in Canada) were practiced worldwide, the global amount of GHG emissions from producing the average barrel of oil would drop by 23 per cent.
> Alberta, Canada’s largest oil and gas producing jurisdiction, has had carbon pricing initiatives on large industrial emitters since 2007, making it the first to do so in North America and one of the first in the world just behind the European Union. And Canadian oil and gas producers have collectively planted tens of millions of trees as part of reclamation efforts over the past several years.
> Our oil and gas industry is by far the largest spender on clean technology in the country, accounting for roughly 75 per cent of all investments made annually. Since 2009, the oil sands industry has spent over $9.3 billion on research and development – notably higher than other major global oil producers on a per-barrel basis.
Canada is a Climate Action Leader
We should be proud to represent Canadian oil and gas all over the world - we can displace other suppliers with inferior environmental + human rights records. #ESGLeader #InvestInCanada— Oil Sands Action (@OilsandsAction) March 15, 2021
📍Grand Central Station, NY. pic.twitter.com/Bc5R9e11xY
Canadian producers understand that a typical steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) oil sands project requires up to 75 per cent fewer wells than a comparable US tight oil project does over its lifetime in order to sustain production. It’s a game-changer. And a strict regulatory regime makes it mandatory for all land disturbed by extraction and production to be 100 per cent reclaimed to a natural, self-sustaining state.
Finally, more than $490 billion of revenues were generated for our governments between 2000-2018 by the oil and gas industry. For environmental protection, advancing climate action and economic recovery, Canada should be a nation of choice for energy investment and supply.
Protesting closely regulated, intensively reviewed, publicly approved Canadian pipelines and blocking energy exports hurts not just Canada’s economic recovery and the global environment, but also Canadian families and communities.
No Canadian needs to make the false choice between Canadian energy resources and climate action. We already have both.
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