3 Pragmatic Questions for Anti-Resource Development Activists

realistic questions for anti-Canadian resource development activists

Canada Action is passionate about pursuing honest, fact-based and non-partisan discussions on natural resources and how they play a huge role in almost every aspect of our contemporary lifestyle.

Part of those discussions involves asking anti-resource development activists to make sense of their stances on various topics, like we do through our blogs.

Below we have a handful of questions for anti-resource development activists in Canada that we would love to have an answer for, along with the reasons why we’re asking them. Also see:

Q1 - Why do you oppose some ways to reduce emissions, but not others?

Anti-resource development activists say they are all for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions in the name of climate action. But if that’s true, why do they oppose proven emission reduction methods such as coal-to-gas switching, nuclear power and hydroelectricity?

Coal-to-gas switching has prevented well over half a billion metric tons of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere since 2010, the equivalent of putting 200 million electric vehicles on the road running on zero-emission electricity over the same time frame [2].

That’s no small potatoes.

The United States’ effort to switch from coal to gas is another great example of its effectiveness in reducing global emissions. In 2019, the U.S. electric power sector produced over 1,700 million metric tons (MMmt) of carbon dioxide (CO2), 32% less than the 2,544 MMmt produced in 2005 – largely a result of coal-to-gas switching [3].

Nuclear power and hydropower are also low-carbon ways to generate the electricity we need, together accounting for three-quarters of low-carbon generation globally. Over the past 50 years, nuclear power has reduced CO2 emissions by more than 60 gigatonnes – nearly two years’ worth of global energy-related emissions [4].

So then, the question remains: why are anti-resource development activists steadfastly opposed to some of the most effective ways we have to reduce emissions?

Something doesn’t add up.

Q2 - Climate change is a global problem; therefore, we should work together towards solutions, no?

Anti-resource development activists refuse to listen to anything that resembles pragmatism in the conversation surrounding climate action.

Events at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Egypt this past year (COP27) were a prime example. Anti-Canadian oil and gas activists staged a “walkout” at the Oil Sands Pathways Alliance delegation’s presentation, later bragging about it on social media like they were some kind of heroes for doing so.

Unfortunately, these actions don’t do anything to solve the real-world problems we collectively face. All they do is polarize the discussion around climate action and make it more difficult for us all to do our part.

The Oil Sands Pathways Alliance – representing about two-thirds of Canadian oil production – was at COP27 to discuss how it plans to reach net zero emissions by 2050. These were industry leaders bringing real solutions like carbon capture and storage (CCS) to the table for discussion at the world’s top climate change event. The reality is that Canada’s energy sector has a huge role to play in our country's path to net zero and we won’t get there without them; we should be supportive of their carbon-reducing initiatives, full stop.

Besides, who exactly do we think has the know-how to help us reduce energy-related emissions, or the funds to invest in new research and development to create tomorrow's cleantech, if not the energy sector?

Will it be the anti-resource development activists?

The IEA says that half the technologies required to meet net zero by 2050 still don’t exist. This is a legitimate problem that needs real solutions, and we aren’t going to make progress on those technologies by calling each other names and hoping for the best.

If we set aside the polarization, put our minds together and listen to one another, perhaps then we can find solutions to global warming more speedily – and ensure we don’t outright destroy our energy-based economies and way of life in the process.

So then, the question remains: when will we stop hyperpolarizing the discussion on climate action and start working together on pragmatic solutions? They are out there.

The sooner, the better.

Q3 - Where do you want to get your energy from?

Anti-resource development activists repeatedly push for the demise of the oil and natural gas sector in Canada despite projected global demand growth for both commodities for decades yet [1]. And all this, despite our country being one of the most stable, reliable and responsible energy producers worldwide.

So then, let’s say we followed these activists' policy recommendations and stopped Canadian oil and gas production altogether. Not only would Canadians need to import all the oil and natural gas we rely on from our own production, but so would our neighbours to the south for the nearly 4 million barrels/day we export to the USA each day, not to mention our natural gas exports.

Where exactly would that massive amount of oil come from?

Canada's oil and gas sector is the largest industry spender on cleantech and innovation, accounting for 32.1% of investment in energy research and development in 2020 [5]. With oil and gas expected to remain the number one energy source on the planet in 2050, we must continue to work on new innovation that will reduce the impact of these critical energy sources [6].

Canada is by and large accomplishing that through industry collaboration between competing oil sands producers that make up about two-thirds of Canadian oil production. In truth, the Canadian Oil Sands Innovation Alliance is unlike anything you’ll see anywhere else in the world.

Without responsibly produced Canadian energy on the world stage, both Canada and the U.S. would rely heavily on countries like Venezuela, Iran and Saudi Arabia for oil and natural gas.

What could go wrong?

Without Canada, we’d also be short on critical new innovations to help continue to reduce our energy emissions of today.

So then, the question remains: where would you choose to get your energy from -- democracies like Canada, or dictatorships like Venezuela?

The right choice is abundantly clear.

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When we’re not asking anti-Canadian oil and gas activists legitimate questions, we’re busy busting the misinformation they spread through our blog and other online channels.

Join us today to get the facts on Canada’s world-class natural resource sectors and learn why the world needs more Canadian energy, food, wood, minerals, and everything else in between!


1 – International Energy Agency – World Energy Outlook 2022, Date Accessed: January 2023 (https://www.iea.org/reports/world-energy-outlook-2022)

2 - International Energy Agency – The Role of Gas in Today’s Energy Transitions, Date Accessed: January 2023 (https://www.iea.org/reports/the-role-of-gas-in-todays-energy-transitions)

3 – U.S. Energy Information Administration - Electric power sector CO2 emissions drop as generation mix shifts from coal to natural gas, Date Accessed: January 2023 (https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=48296)

4 - International Energy Agency - Nuclear Power in a Clean Energy System, Date Accessed: January 2023 (https://www.iea.org/reports/nuclear-power-in-a-clean-energy-system)

5 – Statistics Canada - Energy-related research and development expenditures, Date Accessed: January 2023 (https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/220624/dq220624b-eng.htm)

6 - International Energy Agency – World Energy Outlook 2022 STEPS Scenario, Date Accessed: January 2023 (https://www.iea.org/reports/world-energy-outlook-2022)

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