Statement by Aly Hyder Ali, Oil and Gas Program Manager, Environmental Defence
Ottawa | Traditional, unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg People – While we are pleased to see that the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) has finally admitted that Canada’s oil and gas production must decline dramatically to avoid climate catastrophes, we are also disappointed in the continued overreliance on speculative technologies to achieve Canada’s climate commitments.
For the first time ever, the CER, an independent energy regulatory agency, has modelled a net-zero scenario in their Energy Futures 2023 report – and what they found is no surprise. To keep global average temperature to 1.5 degrees, we must quickly transition off of fossil fuels. Canadian oil production must decline by 76 per cent and gas production by 68 per cent by 2050, from current levels. Global markets are moving away from fossil fuels, and Canada must do the same.
However, as the CER finds in its report, Canada’s current suite of policies are not strong enough to avoid catastrophic climate impacts. With current policies in place, it is predicted that there will only be a 13 per cent decline in Canada’s emissions from today’s levels to 2050 – a far cry from what is needed to achieve a 1.5 aligned future.
Climate action in Canada needs to increase in pace and in its ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With upcoming federal policies such as the oil and gas emissions cap and the clean electricity regulations, the Government of Canada has an opportunity to do just that, but only if those policies are ambitious enough. Without massive emissions reductions from the oil and gas industry, approximately 90 per cent by 2050 from current levels, it is impossible to achieve Canada’s climate targets.
It is disappointing to note that in Energy Futures 2023 there is still a vast overreliance on speculative, unproven technologies, such as carbon capture and storage (CCS), as well as direct air capture (DAC). Despite decades of trying, CCS has yet to make any significant contributions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The best shot at avoiding further climate catastrophe is to phase out fossil fuels and immediately move towards cleaner, renewable energy sources. And now is the best time to do it.
CER clearly shows that renewable energy and electricity are becoming the new backbone of Canada’s energy systems. With the backdrop of raging wildfires that have burned through hundreds of communities and displaced hundreds of thousands of people, it is imperative that Canada moves full steam ahead in phasing out fossil fuels and investing in clean energy sources.
ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.
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