President Joe Biden waves after holding a virtual meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in the East Room of the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in Washington. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Evan Vucci

President Joe Biden waves after holding a virtual meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in the East Room of the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in Washington. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Evan Vucci

New emission-cutting goals called ‘aggressive,’ ‘ambitious’ and ‘illogical’

Canadian industry is being compelled to cut methane emissions by 45 per cent by 2025

CALGARY — New greenhouse gas emission cutting targets are being described as “extremely aggressive,” “ambitious” and “illogical” by members of the Canadian oilpatch after they were rolled out at a virtual climate summit of world leaders on Thursday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed to slash Canada’s GHGs by 40 to 45 per cent by 2030 and President Joe Biden vowed to cut emissions in the United States by 50 to 52 per cent in the same time frame.

“These are obviously extremely aggressive targets being laid out by leaders in Canada and the U.S. and I think there’s absence of process or plan behind the targets. But you need to start with the targets, I understand that,” said Kevin Neveu, CEO of Calgary-based Precision Drilling Corp., which operates in both Canada and south of the border.

“I think the objectives they are trying to achieve, we agree with and support,” he added.

There are solutions available today such as using grid electricity, renewable energy or natural gas that would allow the drilling industry to meet the emission targets for its operations, said Neveu, adding he urges the governments to continue to support research that will allow the broader oilpatch to also cut emissions.

Grant Fagerheim, CEO of Whitecap Resources Inc., said he also supports efforts to reduce emissions but disagrees with the way the new Canadian targets are being rolled out.

“Having aspirational targets with no practical or scientific methodologies is illogical,” he said.

“It seems like the federal government is working against the industry and not working with it. That’s the frustration. There’s no consultation. … We should be using science, not just political wherewithal to reduce (emissions).”

The Canadian industry is being compelled to cut methane emissions by 45 per cent by 2025 and is facing a rising tide of carbon taxes, he pointed out.

“We’ve reduced our direct emissions (at Whitecap) by over 30 per cent since 2017 but you don’t get recognized for it,” said Fagerheim.

“Where is the reward program, where is the incentivizing program? Versus the penalizing program?”

In an emailed statement, the CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers defended his members’ record in reducing emissions without directly commenting on the scale of the new emissions targets.

“Canada’s natural gas and oil industry has made emissions reduction a priority; not only setting goals, but showing how it can be done,” said Tim McMillan.

“For example, in the oilsands industry, average GHGs per barrel have dropped 21 per cent since 2009 and, with current technologies under development, are projected to drop by an additional 20 to 27 per cent by 2030, demonstrating production growth can be compatible with emissions reductions.”

The new targets are “ambitious” and achieving them will require all Canadians to co-operate and change the way they work, said Sneh Seetal, a spokeswoman for oilsands producer Suncor Energy Inc.

She added that the company is pleased with initiatives unveiled in the federal budget earlier this week to support and promote the use of carbon capture utilization and storage to offset GHG emissions.

“We’re encouraged by the political commitments coming out of today’s Leader’s Summit on Climate” said Jesse Semko, spokesman for pipeline company Enbridge Inc.

“Enbridge is committed to doing its part to reduce emissions and achieving our goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”

The company is upgrading equipment and using solar self-power projects to meet its operational electricity requirements, while investing in renewables like offshore wind and emerging technologies such as hydrogen, renewable natural gas and carbon capture, utilization and storage, he said.

Spokesman Reg Curren declined to comment on the new targets on behalf of Cenovus Energy Inc. but said the oilsands producer remains committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and will complete an analysis to set new near-term targets this year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2021.

emission targetsoil and gas

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

Just Posted

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police "E" Division headquarters in Surrey, B.C., on Friday, April 13, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Jewish group disturbed by reports of Hitler Youth flags in Alberta towns

RCMP spoke to the property owner, who refused to remove the flag

ALERT seized drugs and a variety of guns from a home in Lacombe on May 5 after an investigation. (Photo courtesy of ALERT)
ALERT seizes guns and drugs in Lacombe

The Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team arrested three people in Lacombe earlier… Continue reading

(Contributed)
Temporary trail closure at Three Mile Bend

Trail closed into the weekend

(Contributed)
Red Deer youth missing

Red Deer RCMP seek public’s assistance

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Trudeau is rejecting accusations from Alberta’s justice minister that his federal government is part of a trio rooting for that province’s health system to collapse due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Alberta justice minister sorry for saying feds, others rooting for COVID disaster

Blame and responsibility have recently been at the centre of debate in Alberta

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Here is a list of latest COVID-19 restrictions in effect in Alberta

New mandatory health restrictions are now in effect in Alberta. Additional restrictions… Continue reading

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) celebrates with defenseman Victor Hedman (77) after the team defeated the Dallas Stars during an NHL hockey game Wednesday, May 5, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)
Analysis: McDavid NHL’s MVP front-runner in condensed season

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid has 100-plus point season

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (36) makes a save as Maple Leafs defenceman TJ Brodie (78) and Montreal Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli (73) look for the rebound during first period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Saturday, May 8, 2021. The Leafs and the Canadiens will meet in the playoffs for the first time in 42 years when the 2020-21 NHL post-season gets underway.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Singer Celine Dion performs during her first World Tour show called Courage Wednesday, September 18, 2019 at the Videotron Centre in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Songbird Uncaged: Celine Dion readies return to Las Vegas stage for 10-date run

Starting on Nov. 5, Dion will play 10 dates at the Resorts World Las Vegas theatre

An Empire Day/Victoria Day gathering of school children on Ross Street by the Cenotaph in the 1920s. On the right hand side, are members of the Red Deer Citizens Band (forerunner of the Red Deer Royals). (Photo via Red Deer Archives)
Victoria Day event helped after war

One hundred years ago, on May 24, 1921, a major community event… Continue reading

Gwynne Dyer
Gwynne Dyer: Independence is a one-way gate

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland declared in 2014 that the referendum… Continue reading

Boston Bruins left wing Nick Ritchie (21) and Washington Capitals defenseman Brenden Dillon (4) battle for the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, May 11, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Raffl’s late goal pushes Capitals past Bruins, 2-1

Raffl’s late goal pushes Capitals past Bruins, 2-1

Chicago Blackhawks left wing Alex DeBrincat (12) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers in Chicago, Saturday, May 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Toews’ question chases Chicago Blackhawks into offseason

Toews’ question chases Chicago Blackhawks into offseason

Most Read