The Canadian Energy Strategy will be finalized and unveiled at a premiers’ conference in St. John’s beginning Wednesday. But The Globe and Mail has obtained a draft of the plan that reveals the key points and stumbling blocks.
The confidential 37-page document lays out 10 goals and dozens of action items as part of a sweeping vision for the future of oil, gas and electricity across the country.
The creation of the energy strategy has been a long and belaboured process. The brainchild of former Alberta premier Alison Redford, it was first conceived in 2012 as a way to plan future oil-sands expansion and address climate-change concerns. The premiers have been crafting it for the past three years. The provincial leaders couldn’t have imagined that the agreement would come at a time of low crude prices, oil sands production cuts and economic angst in Alberta and the rest of the country.
Two sections of the plan commit the provinces and territories to help get more pipelines built, in part by cutting down on red tape to speed up regulatory decisions.
But the strategy contains little firm commitment on battling global warming. Its strongest environmental section – a pledge for all provinces and territories to adopt absolute targets for cutting greenhouse gases – is marked as a point of contention that might be scrapped.
There is also no explanation on how oil-sands production can expand – a likely scenario if more pipelines are built – while the country still reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Now that we've learned that keeping global warming to 2C - which might enable the survival of our civilization into the next century - demands that, globally, we leave the highest-carbon fossil fuels in the ground, untouched, unburned - Canada's premiers are banding together to ramp up Canada's extraction and export of the planet's filthiest petroleum, bitumen. For public consumption they'll make the standard promises about cutting greenhouse gas emissions and then ignore their assurances as is now their second nature.
And what will we say as world leaders gather in Paris this December for what many believe is our last - as in final - chance to reach an effective accord to avoid catastrophic climate change?
h/t Marie, @ A Puff of Absurdity and thanks to Bill Longstaff for reminding us that it's not just the Conservatives behind this but the Liberals and New Democrats also. As Andrew Nikiforuk reminds us, this is the face of the petro-state in the age of neoliberalism.