Fossil fuels ‘probably dead,’ says Canadian Pacific Railway CEO Hunter Harrison

People need to get their heads around the idea that fossil fuels are "probably dead," the CEO of Canadian Pacific Railway said Wednesday.

MONTREAL — People need to get their heads around the idea that fossil fuels are “probably dead,” the CEO of Canadian Pacific Railway said Wednesday.

“I’m not maybe as green as I should be but I happen to think the climate is changing (and) they’re not going to fool me anymore,” Hunter Harrison told a J.P. Morgan transportation conference in New York.

The veteran rail executive said the transition to alternative fuels will be long, but new investments in traditional energy sources will dry up because of environmental hurdles.

The country’s second-largest railway has seen shipments of crude drop due to declining demand brought on by the dramatic fall in oil prices. Thermal coal shipments have also waned.

Harrison said the rail industry will have to adjust to a shift to alternative energy sources, just as it did in the 1990s when the U.S. Clean Air Act wiped away 29 per cent of the business at Illinois Central Railway that he ran at the time.

“I think that it’s a challenge going forward, but rails have historically dealt with those changes really well through the years and continued to survive and make it,” he said.

Company spokesman Jeremy Harrison said later that Harrison was referring to the “overwhelming trend” towards sustainable energy and the need for all segments of the economy to acknowledge the ever-changing energy landscape.

Greenpeace welcomed Harrison’s view, saying it marks a reversal from the 1990s when railroads denied global warming because they relied so much on coal.

“I think he’s just recognizing the new realities and looking to go where the puck is going rather than where it has been,” said Keith Stewart, the environmental group’s head of climate and energy campaign.

“And our political leaders would do well to recognize that renewable energy is the way of the future and we need to be looking at how we can prepare for a world that is going beyond fossil fuels.”

Under the new Liberal government, Canada was among countries late last year that helped push for a goal of limiting global warming to around 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The Calgary-based railway (TSX:CP) also said it filed a resolution with U.S. securities regulators that it plans to introduce to Norfolk Southern shareholders at its next annual meeting as part of its effort to acquire the Virginia-based railway.

The motion calls for shareholders to request Norfolk’s board to engage in discussions with CP Rail that wouldn’t preclude discussions with other parties.

“This is kind of our last effort, the last thing we know to do and we hope it will work,” Harrison said. “And if not, we are going to go back in and run our railroad.”

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Red Deer College Queens host third annual Pink in the Rink game

The RDC Queens picked up an extra special victory on home ice… Continue reading

PHOTOS: The Mustard Seed CEO speaks at Seeds of Hope Gala in Red Deer

The first-ever Seeds of Hope Gala was held at the Red Deer… Continue reading

PHOTO: Renewable Energy Fair at Red Deer College

The Renewable Energy Fair and Workshops event was held at Red Deer… Continue reading

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

‘Stupid’ law preventing Canada’s re-engagement with Iran: retired envoy

OTTAWA — The real reason the Liberal government hasn’t been able to… Continue reading

Voters head to polls for BC municipal elections today

VANCOUVER — Voters in British Columbia will head to the polls today… Continue reading

All sharks tagged in N.S. expedition can now be tracked on Ocearch website

HALIFAX — All six of the sharks tagged in Nova Scotian waters… Continue reading

Memorial service for former PQ minister Lise Payette today in Montreal

MONTREAL — Mourners will gather to remember former Parti Quebecois cabinet minister… Continue reading

Immunotherapy scores a first win against some breast cancers

For the first time, one of the new immunotherapy drugs has shown… Continue reading

‘Mom I’m in trouble:’ Canadian, Brit face 10 years in jail for alleged graffiti

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — The mother of a Canadian who was arrested… Continue reading

Coyote on the prowl near Penhold

This coyote was out on the prowl in a field just west… Continue reading

Most Read