PROCESSWEST Magazine Online

When activism is no longer about the environment

By Jarret Coels   


Earlier this month, a collection of activist organizations from across North America published an open letter calling on our political leaders to “reject carbon capture and storage as a false solution to the climate crisis.”

The reality however, is that Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS) is a proven technology supported by billions in investment and has delivered real emissions reductions.

To label CCUS a ‘false solution’ is a blatant mischaracterization that detracts from serious discussions about the future of energy and Canadian climate policy.

Which begs the question as to why these groups raise their voice in opposition to every innovation developed by Canada’s natural gas and oil industry to reduce emissions.


Is it really about reducing emissions or is it about something else?

According to the world’s leading authority on energy issues, the International Energy Agency (IEA), ‘reaching net-zero will be virtually impossible without CCUS’.

That’s why CCUS is backed by parties from across the political spectrum.

It’s a key part of the federal government’s environmental plan. Provincial governments in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland & Labrador, and Ontario all support further investments and research in carbon capture because the technology works.

Just four experimental CCUS projects, found in Alberta, Norway, and Saskatchewan, together have cut emissions equivalent to taking 14 million cars off the road.

CCUS technology is used in several industrial applications and the captured carbon is being used to create new products like hand sanitizer, sunglasses and even vodka!

With a rising global population and growing middle class the world’s demand for energy will only continue to grow – this means we need more CCUS, not less.

The over-the-top rhetoric of the anti-everything protest class is hardly surprising. Activists portray the global transition to a lower carbon economy as a simple change that could be swiftly implemented if not for our indifferent political leadership.

The reality is this is an incredibly difficult task, it’s going to take decades, and the world will still need natural gas and oil even after we have achieved our ambitions.

In their crusade to end natural gas and oil development, Canada’s activists never note how there are nearly 1 billion people who live without electricity across the planet.  Or how Global demand for energy is surging with electricity set to grow by 5 per cent in 2021 and a further 4 per cent in 2022.

Right now, in developing nations, leaders are turning to coal for the affordable and reliable energy necessary to grow their economies and their citizens’ quality of life.

We can do everything within our power to reduce our emissions domestically but if other countries continue to increase theirs, Canada’s significant efforts will make an insignificant difference in the global effort.

In Canada, we produce what is arguably the world’s cleanest natural gas. In B.C., we are developing an industry that will liquefy (by cooling it to –162 degrees Celsius) our natural gas so it can be safely transported to overseas markets – this is Liquefied Natural Gas or LNG.

In Canada, our liquefication process relies heavily on hydroelectricity which helps it be among the most sustainable processes on the planet. When you combine our world-leading natural gas with a first class liquefication process you get a Canadian industry that will produce the world’s best LNG.

But even though our LNG will be the world’s best – it’s still not good enough for Canada’s anti-everything activists.

When Canadian LNG is used instead of coal-fired power to generate electricity it cuts emissions in half. Canada is the only top-ten producer of natural gas and oil with a methane reduction target and a national carbon price.

Reducing emissions and protecting our environment is a primary goal for industry and government. It is the goal of Canadians. Its why there is such broad support for further investment in innovations like CCUS and Canadian LNG development.

The only opposition to further CCUS and LNG comes from Canada’s anti-everything activists.

When it comes to Canada’s industry, nothing is ever enough.

So, we ask: is it really about the environment or is it really about something else?

(Canadian Energy Citizens)


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