Greenpeace might call it a “fun fact” – if they ever mentioned it at all. For me, it’s the central problem with the organization.
The fact is this: Canada is the only country on the planet where Greenpeace opposes all energy exports. That this is a serious problem should be obvious. The group, with its outsized $400-million budget, claims to be global in its reach. So why does a global activist group focus on the exports of virtually one country?
Is it because Greenpeace has no interest in acknowledging Canadian employment, economics, and strong environmental and social protections? That seems to be part of it – otherwise this fickle green giant would aim its insatiable campaign machinery at Saudi Arabia or Russia.
No matter how sterling our sustainability reputation, Greenpeace isn’t in the business of recognizing industrial progress. But for the rest of us, we can’t afford to be blocked by the activist forces of “no.” We need continued energy development and pipeline construction – now.
After all, global energy demand is growing. Oil demand, for example, is forecast to reach 100 million barrels per day by 2020.
Across the world, we’ve added an estimated 4.5 million barrels of new oil demand just in 2015-17. And globally, 30 million barrels per day of new production will be needed by 2030 just to offset declines in existing production, not including new demand.
Today 85 per cent of the energy the world uses is fossil fuel. That’s likely to change in the future, but only gradually: by 2040, 75 per cent of world energy is forecast to be fossil fuel.
Because they’re intermittent, unreliable and expensive, wind and solar energy technologies are tiny in comparison. That too may change in the future as long as they continue to receive R&D and other support, but change will come only in small increments.
Non-hydropower renewables accounted for five per cent of total world electricity generation in 2012; their share in 2040 is expected to be 14 per cent – depending on the availability of large subsidies, which in some cases are in question.
My main point is this: in spite of Greenpeace, Canada must continue its efforts in oil and gas development and transportation via pipeline until renewable energy technologies have caught up with the world – an evolution that seems a long way off.
As to the Greenpeace approach, let’s reject the false notion that Canada should sacrifice its high-standard fair-trade oil and gas production, only to hand over our market share to other less-regulated countries.
Cody Battershill is a Calgary Realtor and founder/spokesperson for CanadaAction.ca, a volunteer organization that supports Canadian energy development and the environmental, social and economic benefits that come with it.