Home Month and Year December 2021 Canada a Climate Leader in an Energy-Starved World

Canada a Climate Leader in an Energy-Starved World

Cody Battershill

By the time you read this column, thousands of politicians, staffers, celebrities, royals, journalists, photographers, activists and hangers-on will have boarded aircrafts – many of them private – and flown home from Glasgow International.

To say COP26, which wrapped up November 12 following two weeks of speeches, corridor discussions and photo ops, cracked the case on ensuring clean, reliable energy to the world would be a vast overstatement.

Let’s review: Global energy demand is steadily rising, and that includes a sharp increase in world demand for oil and gas. And as Calgarians know, Indigenous communities are often keen to participate in solving that issue – through partnering in LNG pipeline projects and many other energy services.

Equally important, the sharp increase in world demand for oil and gas has had some alarming consequences. Europe faces soaring gas prices. And China, hindered from powering its manufacturing sector with, for example, comparatively clean LNG from Canada, is satisfying domestic energy demand largely by commissioning coal-fired power plants.

Meanwhile, we have an abundance of natural resources, an educated workforce and a research and development network that is the envy of the world.

What’s clear to me is that Canada should be a preferred global supplier of our energy and other resources. We lead the planet in emission intensity reductions, water recycling, carbon capture utilization and storage, methane emission reductions, renewables, clean-tech and innovation, and we’re one of only a few global oil and gas producers with carbon pricing.

But a continuing global energy crisis means more inclusive energy strategies are necessary if only because reliable access to affordable energy underpins modern life for billions of people on the planet.

For those who continue to be skeptical of Canada’s current leadership on climate action, you don’t have to take my word for it. A study in the journal Science found that if all global oil producers adopted Canadian flaring and methane standards, the emissions from producing a barrel of oil would drop by 23 per cent, equivalent to taking 100 million cars off the road.

There are many other examples of Canadian energy leadership on climate – Canada is among the first countries in which a majority of the oil and gas sector has committed to net-zero emissions by 2050, and we’re also one of the few oil-producing nations where detailed disclosures are publicly available on climate and environmental-related risks.

And of the world’s top 10 oil exporters, Canada ranks first on at least 10 environment, social and governance indices, from 2020’s Environmental Performance Index to the Sustainable Development Index 2020.

Can Canada play a vital role in providing global leadership on climate action? The answer is within the reach of anyone who follows progress on the ground. Not only do we have a role, but we’re already playing it.

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.