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

The Red Deer Public Library downtown branch will be reopening after a year on Monday, after work is completed on its HVAC system replacement. (File photo by ADVOCATE staff)
Red Deer Public Library opens with limited in-person services Monday

All three Red Deer Public Library branches will be open for in-person… Continue reading

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Red Deer Emergency Services responded to an explosion at a duplex on Rupert Crescent Saturday morning. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Firefighters respond to explosion in Red Deer early Saturday morning

There was an explosion at a Red Deer duplex early Saturday morning.… Continue reading

Terry Betts, of Kananaskis, looks at the vehicle he was hoping to sell during the Quick Times Red Deer Swap Meet in the Westerner Park parking lot Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Quick Times Red Deer Swap Meet held outdoors

A big automotive swap meet was held outdoors this year in Red… Continue reading

The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is set to re-open on July 2. (File Photo)
Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum to reopen Monday

The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum will reopen for visitors… Continue reading

Huzaifa (left), Saif (middle) and Zoya (right) were among the 60 or so Red Deerians who participated in a vigil for the victims of a recent terrorist attack that killed four people in London Ont. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Red Deer vigil honours victims of London, Ont. terrorist attack

About 60 people gathered at the corner of 49 Ave. and 50… Continue reading

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

A man wears a face mask as he walks by a sign for a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, May 16, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Canada paid a premium to get doses from Pfizer earlier than planned

OTTAWA — Canada paid a premium to get more than 250,000 doses… Continue reading

The Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., is shown in this 1930 handout photo. HO — Deschatelets-NDC Archives
Calls grow for Ottawa to review settlement decisions for residential school survivors

Lawyer Teri Lynn Bougie still cries when she talks about the final… Continue reading

Syringes are readied at a COVID-19 mobile vaccination clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, Friday, April 30, 2021 in Montreal. Most of the federal contracts for COVID-19 vaccines allow for Canada to donate some of its doses to other countries or international aid organizations and in at least three cases, for the doses to be resold.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada’s vaccine contracts allow for doses to be donated, in some cases resold

OTTAWA — Most of the federal contracts for COVID-19 vaccines allow for… Continue reading

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, responds to the report on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, in Vancouver, on Monday June 3, 2019. As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Two sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

VANCOUVER — As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after… Continue reading

A woman sits and weeps at the scene of Sunday's hate-motivated vehicle attack in London, Ont. on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. Four members of a family in London, Ont., are set to be buried today. The public has been invited to help celebrate the lives of Talat Afzaal, 74, her son Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, and their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Salman.THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins
Funeral to be held today for London family killed in attack

LONDON, Ont. — Four members of a Muslim family killed in what… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden listen to United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson deliver opening remarks at a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, United Kingdom Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau to discuss foreign policy with G7 leaders at second day of summit meeting

CARBIS BAY, CORNWALL, ENGLAND — Foreign policy is on the agenda for… Continue reading

Multivitamins are shown on the packaging line at the Pfizer plant in Montreal, Thursday, July 12, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Canadian drug companies want new pricing regs delayed again until after pandemic

OTTAWA — Almost three dozen Canadian pharmaceutical companies made a direct appeal… Continue reading

Most Read