Letter to Trudeau, premiers: Scientists tell politicians to rethink pipelines

Scientists have written an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the premiers saying that spending on infrastructure for fossil fuels may not be the most productive use of resources.

EDMONTON — Scientists have written an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the premiers saying that spending on infrastructure for fossil fuels may not be the most productive use of resources.

In a second letter to the ministers, a group of 50 executives from British Columbia’s clean technology industry has proposed a series of multibillion-dollar incentives for what they say is Canada’s next source of economic growth.

Both documents seek to influence Trudeau and the premiers as they start talks on a national climate-change strategy in Vancouver this week.

“We’re trying to bring our best perspective as to what’s going on in the global oil market and what are the good investments for Canada,” said James Byrne, a climatologist at the University of Lethbridge.

He’s one of 28 signatories to a letter from members of Sustainable Canada Dialogues, made up of 60 academics across the country representing disciplines from social science to engineering. The letter argues that oil prices have permanently changed, depressed by high Saudi production and threatened by shifts away from gas-powered vehicles.

It also points out Canada has already approved and proposed new pipelines capable of moving 2.3 million barrels of oil a day. Building those lines, as well as the oilsands projects needed to fill them, will cost about $120 billion, the letter says.

“Given that world oil prices are unlikely to rise, it is questionable whether or not those investments will be profitable,” it says.

“Just days ago the Saudi oil minister stated oil prices will remain low until high-cost producers, like oilsands, are forced out of the global market.”

The letter says renewable energy investments are a better bet for the future.

“Refocusing investment on renewable energy providers would shift oil and pipeline workers to building energy production systems that take advantage of Canada’s renewable energy potential. The transition to a low-carbon society and economy will enhance prosperity and well-being, modernize infrastructure, develop regional renewable energy sources, and create new businesses and new jobs.”

In their letter, the industry officials say Canada is actually falling behind in so-called clean technology, which includes environmental solutions in the power, forestry, energy, mining, chemicals, manufacturing, agriculture and transportation sectors.

They argue Canada has been the world’s third greatest loser of market share in the industry since 2008, falling from 14th to 19th. Other studies have found Canadian investment in renewables dropped by half last year as other countries register double-digit increases.

“The world will produce and consume more than $1 trillion of cleantech solutions,” the letter says. “The only question is whether Canada will be a buyer or a seller.”

The businesspeople ask for $1 billion in loan guarantees for capital costs for environmental projects. Their letter requests another $1.25 billion in funding over five years to support programs through the Sustainable Technology Development Canada program.

They want another $500 million for a renewables venture capital fund, as well as changes to tax rules to make the advantages already available to the resource industry apply in their sector.

They propose a national strategy on renewables be developed.

“To invest in a strong cleantech industry is to invest in a diversified, innovative, knowledge-based economy,” says the letter.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Community ‘comes together’ at opening ceremonies

The nation will focus its eyes on Red Deer for the next… Continue reading

Red Deer man loses car after being caught twice driving with suspended licence

The Ponoka Integrated Traffic Unit ticketed the man in December and on Valentine’s Day

Plenty of Family Day fun lined up in local communities

Choices abound in Red Deer thanks to 2019 Canada Winter Games

Rural crooks using drones to target properties

Drone hovering over a property in Clearwater County was reported to RCMP

Blackfalds reviewing proposal to open its own registry office

Town administration expected to report back to council in two weeks

VIDEO: Community ‘comes together’ at opening ceremonies

The nation will focus its eyes on Red Deer for the next… Continue reading

Games athletes making themselves at home at RDC

Red Deer College’s campus will be home for the athletes during the 2019 Canada Winter Games

Alix resident captures beams of light near Lacombe

Lacombe, Blackfalds, Red Deer photos have since gone viral around the world

Welcome message from the mayor

On behalf of Red Deer city council, the City of Red Deer… Continue reading

Canada avoids world’s top players in opening round of Davis Cup

MADRID — Canada has avoided a confrontation with any of the current… Continue reading

Canada’s McKeever swaps skis for tuxedo, nominated for Laureus World Sport Award

CALGARY — From a glitzy awards ceremony in Monaco to the nordic… Continue reading

Scrutiny, family woes pile pressure on pregnant Meghan

LONDON — When Meghan Markle became engaged to Prince Harry, the American… Continue reading

It’s a girl! Berlin zoo’s baby polar bear has 1st checkup

Berlin’s Tierpark zoo says its latest baby polar bear is “a perky,… Continue reading

Local Sports: Kaitlan Linnell achieves hockey dream

Coming up through Red Deer minor hockey Kaitlan Linnell had a dream… Continue reading

Most Read