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.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is cancelling his planned trip to… Continue reading

Town of Ponoka facing lawsuit from pair of local residents

Ponoka town council members and administration have been served with a lawsuit… Continue reading

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

TYENDINAGA, Ont. — Hours of talks between the federal government and representatives… Continue reading

Red Deer County investing in fibre optics

County investing $7 million over two years to improve Internet connections

Fashion Fridays: Apple body types: What you need to know

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Your community calendar

Feb. 6 A Perogie Supper is being held Thursday, Feb. 6 from… Continue reading

Woman loses 50 pairs of shoes after boyfriend accidentally donates them to thrift store

Cassandra Converse can’t wait to go shoe shopping. Last month, Converse’s boyfriend… Continue reading

RDC Queens fall in double OT to MacEwan University Griffins

Griffins 4 Queens 3 (2OT) The RDC Queens managed to salvage a… Continue reading

Trump takes Daytona 500 warmup lap in presidential limousine

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — President Donald Trump gave an election-year embrace to… Continue reading

Canada expected to support heavy fuel ban in Arctic despite costs to northerners

The federal government is expected to support international measures that would reduce… Continue reading

Nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

OTTAWA — The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions is warning that the… Continue reading

‘Sonic’ speeds to $57M debut; ‘Parasite’ sees big Oscar bump

NEW YORK — The redesigned “Sonic the Hedgehog” showed plenty of teeth… Continue reading

Justin Timberlake on ‘trauma’ of being pelted with bottles at SARS concert

TORONTO — Justin Timberlake is still haunted by being pelted with what… Continue reading

Most Read