Well funded special interest groups are no stranger to harping about the need to curb carbon emissions, and reduce the environmental impact that resource development of any kind has on the environment. However what seems to get lost in the messages that each lobbyist or special interest group disseminates through the media are the following 15 reasons why Alberta doesn’t get the credit that it deserves:
- The province has drastically lowered greenhouse gas emissions emissions per barrel of oilsands produced, by 30% over the last 25 years
- Canada’s first wind farm was built in Alberta in 1993. As a country, Canada is 3rd in the world for use of hydro power and gets a G20-leading 80% of our electricity from non GHG-emitting sources
- Oilsands operations recycle between 80 and 97% of water used. Billions have been and are being invested in improving every metric of environmental performance by oilsands producers
- Only 3% of the oilsands can be developed using mining techniques, yet almost 100% of the images used by protesters of the sands depict only mining. All land must be reclaimed to a naturally vegetative state, according to Alberta’s world-leading standards
- Government and industry are spending $300 for every Albertan on carbon capture, creating one of the worlds largest carbon capture and storage projects
- We’re the first North American jurisdiction to put a price on carbon for all industrial emitters. This money is then invested into a clean technology, carbon reduction fund
- We’re the only top 10 oil reserve country with a carbon tax on oil production
- Canada is the most regulated, monitored, transparent and socially responsible top 10 oil reserve country. 6 countries and 13 oil fields in California produce oil with higher upstream ghg emissions than the oilsands
- The oilsands contribute less than 0.15% of global GHG emissions, a number that has been called “a rounding error”. Even Andrew Weaver, a Green Party MLA has called it “almost undetectable”. The head of the IEA Fatih Birol also called oilsands GHG emissions “not peanuts, but fractions of peanuts”
- Over $10 billion in business has been done with First Nations owned companies over the last 15 years. Over 32,000 First Nations Canadians work in our county’s natural resources industries!
- Alberta’s environmental monitoring programs lead the world’s top 10 oil reserves countries in transparency and oversight. Alberta has been ranked among the world’s leading regulatory jurisdictions among all oil and gas producing regions
- Sensationalized fear-based claims of elevated cancer cases in Alberta’s north have been proven patently false by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer, the result of a detailed long-term study
- Heavy metals from oilsands production in the Athabasca river have been found to be the same as levels found in the bottled water we all drink
- The oilsands contribute more to Canada’s economy than the contributions of 5 Canadian provinces
- World oil demand is growing and we all use oil. Where do you want your resources to come from? Canada is a socially progressive, tightly regulated source of the natural resources that we all use every day. Other sources have dubious human rights and environmental records and will not re-invest their profits in Canada’s social programs
Sources: OSCA, Alberta Energy, AER, NEB, CAPP, COSIA, Stats Can, NRCAN, IEA, EIA, Globe and Mail, Financial Post.
– Cody Battershill is a Calgary realtor and founder / spokesperson for CanadaAction.ca, a non-profit, volunteer driven organization that supports Canadian resource development and the environmental, social and economic benefits that come with it.