There’s not much doubt that better information about energy issues results in better energy choices made by the public.
That’s because good public choices depend on a reasonable set of values together with solid information on available options. For example, what are the principles or standards of behaviour that you believe in? And how do the energy choices we make get us closer to achieving those values?
So here’s a crucial fact: global demand for oil and gas is growing, projected to reach 104 million barrels per day by 2035, up four million bpd compared to current levels. Global LNG demand is projected to grow 90 per cent above 2021 consumption levels.
Should Canada, one of the most stable and environmentally responsible energy suppliers globally, supply oil and gas to countries that require it? Or should the supply be sourced from countries with less transparent governance and weaker protections for human rights and the environment?
After all, Canada is home to about 40 per cent of the world’s oil production that’s subject to carbon pricing. And through the use of renewable electricity, Canadian LNG projects are expected to be among the least carbon-intensive facilities in the world.
Oil sands emissions intensity has decreased 44 per cent since 1995, with the potential for another 20 to 30 per cent reduction with the application of planned innovations, all while the Oil Sands Pathway to Net Zero, unprecedented in the global sector, will see oil sands emissions intensities reduced to net zero by 2050.
Canada’s oil and gas sector has generated more than $500 billion in revenues for our governments since 2000, and our oil and gas exports were valued at $1.94 trillion between 1988 and 2019, creating immense wealth and prosperity for the provinces. And some 800,000 to 900,000 Canadians depend on the sector for their livelihood.
Choosing Canadian oil and gas over its less-transparent competitors is the right values-based move, given its strong and evolving environmental record. And remember that oil and gas is so much more than just transportation fuel. It provides fertilizer for our farms, medical products for our hospitals and thousands of other goods we all rely on daily.
In other words, petroleum products underpin our modern lifestyle; they touch virtually everything we do. And amid current global energy shortages, it’s clear the world needs more stable and responsible sources of supply – not less.
What if we were to listen to some activist organizations that work to block Canadian oil and gas development and export infrastructure? Markets requiring petroleum products would find them elsewhere, and Canada would lose.
But we don’t have to choose between supporting responsibly-produced Canadian oil and gas and expanding our renewable sources.
We should choose to do both.
Cody Battershill is a Calgary realtor and founder / spokesperson for CanadaAction.ca, a volunteer-initiated group that supports Canadian natural resources sector and the environmental, social and economic benefits that come with it.