C-19: Oil is dead – or is it?
According to the Green Party’s parliamentary leader Elizabeth May, “Oil is dead.”
In Canada’s National Observer, she emphasized, “I was not making a prediction. … I was reading the writing on the wall.”
“My heart bleeds for people who believe the sector is going to come back. It’s not. Oil is dead and for people in the sector, it’s very important there be just transition funds.”
During CBC’s Power and Politics, Bloc Québécois’ Blanchet says the federal government should support renewable energy, not the oil patch. He believes the oil industry has “no long-term future, so let’s help them go somewhere else, something which is more green.”
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, notes, “I know that the future is going to be renewable, that we need to have more investment in sustainable economies that lower our emissions.”
(Read discussion: bit.ly/3fOjBiL)
Writing on the wall
Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) is the world’s largest sovereign wealth (investment) fund. It’s divesting from oil (and coal). On May 13, The Wall Street Journal noted, “Norway’s sovereign-wealth fund said Wednesday that it is blacklisting four of Canada’s largest oil producers from its trillion-dollar portfolio, citing high carbon emissions from their operations.”
BNN Bloomberg is following Norway’s US$1 trillion wealth fund. BNN notes NBIM is “doubling down on its climate action by making deeper cuts to its fossil fuel exposure.”
NBIM, “has sought to take a leading role on responsible investment, with ethical guidelines spanning from a ban on tobacco and some weapons to restrictions tied to human rights and environmental issues.”
(Read discussion: bit.ly/2WYlYH1 and Financial Post bit.ly/2Z0bERH)
Naturally, Canada’s oil industry is “unhappy”. With Norway’s US$3.3 billion withdrawals (including Canada’s Suncor Energy Inc.) we can understand that CEOs, through to oil-patch workers — and everyone along the industrial spinoff chain (including shareholders), are upset, angry, frightened.
Prime Minister Trudeau’s stance
Trudeau pledged $2.5B aid for the oil patch. More public money going to support such a heavily polluting industry? Why?
Cleverly, the Liberal Party of Canada is using taxpayer’s money to infuse $1.7 billion to clean up derelict, unused “orphan” oil wells. $750 million will be used to cut emissions of methane gas.
Says Trudeau, “Our goal is to create immediate jobs in these provinces while helping companies avoid bankruptcy and supporting our environmental targets,” he told a daily briefing, saying the measures would maintain around 10,000 jobs.”
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney applauded Trudeau, saying, “Thank you to the Prime Minister and the fed govt for announcing $1.7 billion to accelerate cleanup of orphaned and abandoned wells in Canada’s energy sector.”
Predictably as no money handouts are involved, Kenney and others deeply invested in the oil industry are not so kind about May’s and Blanchet’s assertion that “oil is dead”, accusing them of being “anti-Canadian” and kicking Alberta when it’s down.
New path forward? How?
Getting to a greener, less-oil-dependent economy means judicious transition projects. It means real investment in sustainable energy production which will create new R&D, new support of green technologies, plus new training for new jobs, and of course, new products and services. We are a society dependent upon products created by the oil industry.
No practically minded person suggests such transitions are easy. However, we need to pivot to a new, less polluting, more environmentally sustainable economy.
Fringe folk and Amish times?
Those who wish to pivot to a more sustainable economy are not “fringe” people living in a “fantasy.” And we are most decidedly not opting for what fearmonger Tim McMillan, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said. He admonished May, Blanchet, Singh and Trudeau for “pushing us toward a pre-industrialized, Amish-type society.” (bit.ly/2WZoWeJ)
No, Mr. McMillan. What we are doing is encouraging a better way of living on Earth. And we’ll get there, with or without dinosaurs like you.
Katharine Fletcher is a freelance writer, author, and visual artist. Contact her at email@example.com and view her art at facebook.com/KatharineFletcherArtist/