I sometimes receive correspondence from constituents asking about our Government’s approach to protecting the environment. Some are critical of our approach to repeal the carbon tax, defend our energy industry, and fight to build pipelines. I would like to take this opportunity to respond to this.
My first argument to defend our government’s position on the energy industry, pipelines, and the environment, is that there is a global market for oil. The demand for this global market is approximately 100 million barrels per day, of which Alberta produces roughly four million.
Imagine if Alberta were to cut its production in half, by two million barrels per day. The global demand would not change. Instead, other countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Venezuela, would seek to fill that demand, with little regard for the environment or human rights. The end result would be more pollution on a global scale.
This is why I am so opposed to the notion that Alberta needs to reduce or eliminate its oil production; and why I am frustrated with protests against the TMX pipeline expansion. If we were to increase our pipeline capacity, Alberta could compete in the global marketplace, increase its market share, and displace production from countries with worse environmental track records.
My second argument builds on the notion that protecting the environment requires a global approach. One of the leading contributions to global greenhouse gas emissions is China’s construction of coal power plants. Access to cheap and reliable electricity is essential to lifting their citizens out of poverty and providing opportunity for economic advancement. These are noble goals. But unlike Canada, China does not have easy access to natural gas, so their cheapest and most readily available option is coal.
One of the biggest impacts that any country could have on reducing global GHG emissions would be to find a way to deliver natural gas to China so that China could build natural gas power plants instead of coal plants. This is why we have seen such an interest in developing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facilities on the BC coast. We have an abundance of cheap natural gas in Alberta and BC that is easy to produce. There is no logistical reason why we couldn’t equip China with all the natural gas it needs, thereby reducing their reliance on coal-fired power plants.
Considering these facts, the most environmentally responsible path forward would be for Alberta and BC to support the construction of LNG terminals on the BC Coast, and natural gas pipelines connecting the gas-rich regions of Alberta and BC. This would reduce global emissions by an amount far greater than if we were to shut down Alberta’s energy production activities, and it would create jobs, investment, and wealth for all Canadians.
This is why I am so passionate about our government’s commitment to stand up for our world-class energy industry. By doing so, we will accomplish more to protect the environment than anything that Prime Minister Trudeau has done in the last four years.
Nate Glubish is the Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Strathcona-Sherwood Park constituency. If you have any questions or comments about this column or any provincial government issues, he would like to hear from you. Contact Glubish’s constituency office at 780-416-2492 or by email to email@example.com.