The Honourable Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, used these strong words in his keynote remarks to the 2013 Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference (EMMC).
Minister Oliver observed that oil and gas are natural resources that generate $30 billion of government revenue “for critical social programs, including health care and education.” To maintain those social programs at the level Canadians enjoy will require new infrastructure to ensure that our fossil fuel resources are delivered to the world’s buyers.
Oliver noted that Canada cannot expect to continue the current level of exports of oil and gas to the United States, which may well be self-sufficient in four years. However, global energy demand is estimated to be 35 per cent greater in 2035 than in 2010. Canada needs to tap this demand and find new markets in Asia-Pacific countries. This means that Canada must build pipelines to transport its resources to “tidewater”, whether on the West Coast, the East Coast, or perhaps even the Arctic.
Referring to the need to position Canada as an exporting country, Minister Oliver said: “This is a pivotal moment when we decide whether to take that opportunity or let it pass us by.”
We agree that this is a pivotal moment, but not for the reasons given by Minister Oliver. There must be world-wide acceptance of a transition period in which countries limit global emissions of Greenhouse Gases, and develop renewable energy sources to replace fossil fuels.
It can be done, but the Government of Canada is not one prepared to abandon a “business (i.e. Greenhouse gas emissions) as usual” approach. In the words of the Minister’s Press Release:
“Plans informed by this week’s discussions will help position Canada to leverage natural resources in support of the level of economic prosperity that is fundamental to our way of life.”
These words echo the message of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association: “Canada’s Economic Engine Runs on Energy we deliver”.
You can be sure that at this meeting of Canadian Energy Ministers renewable energy will not be an agenda item. Once again, 4RG’s petition that our Governments develop a national policy on renewable energy has been ignored.