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Environmental groups call on feds to not ‘water down’ oil and gas emissions cap

CALGARY — As environmental groups call on the federal government to act quickly to aggressively limit emissions from the country’s oil and gas sector, the industry itself believes such a move would be a departure from the sector itself. It says it could actually slow down carbonization efforts.

As world leaders prepare to head to Egypt next month for the 27th United Nations climate conference, environmentalists have set specific targets for the Trudeau government to impose on the oil and gas sector. The time has come to ensure that Canada achieves its goals. Commitment to climate.

“We know time is of the essence with this policy,” said Ali Haider Ali of Environmental Defense at a virtual press conference hosted by the Climate Action Network on Thursday.

“We are seeing the oil and gas industry and its lobbyists working hard to undermine and delay this policy before it can be implemented.”

Earlier this year, the federal government indicated it would impose a cap on greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector to help Canada meet its 2030 emissions reduction targets.

The government has yet to indicate a permissible level of emissions, but Environment Secretary Steven Guilbeau recently said a cap would be announced “in the coming months”.

To curb global warming, some environmentalists are calling for the oil and gas sector, the largest producer of greenhouse gases, to cut emissions by a whopping 60% by 2030. said there was a need to put pressure on 1.5 degrees Celsius or more, ensuring that the burden of decarbonization is spread evenly across different sectors.

The federal government has previously said it believes Canada’s oil patch could be reduced by 2030 by 31% from 2005 levels and 42% from 2019 levels.

This will reduce total emissions from the sector, including production, refining and pipeline transport, from 191 million tonnes in 2019 to 110 million tonnes by 2030.

Oil sands industry leaders have suggested that achieving such an ambitious goal in a relatively short period of time is probably not possible. Instead, he set a goal of his own through the Pathways Alliance, pledging to reduce emissions from oil sands production by 22 million tons by 2030. This represents a reduction of approximately 30% from current levels.

The Pathways company is proposing to invest $16.5 billion by 2030 to build a massive carbon capture and storage facility near Cold Lake, Alta.

However, a final investment decision has not yet been made and the facility will not begin carbon injection until 2026 at the earliest.

In an interview this week, Suncor Energy Inc.’s former Chief Climate Officer and co-founder of the Pathways Alliance, Martha Hall Findlay, said the goal is to reduce oil sands emissions by more than 40% by 2030. said it was technically impossible.

She said the industry needs support from governments to get costly carbon capture solutions up and running, rather than punitive caps that could ultimately make the implementation of emission reduction technologies more difficult. said it was necessary.

“We’ve always said we’ll be net zero by 2050, but it’s physically impossible to get there by 2030,” said Hall Findlay.

“We need to invest. All of these things require investment. It’s about taking a step back.”

The Canadian Petroleum Producers Association said in its own filing to the federal government last month that setting a cap on emissions reductions would ultimately require producers to cut production to achieve compliance. I was. It also makes it more difficult for companies to invest in decarbonization.

“Goals should reflect what can be realistically achieved,” CAPP’s submission said. “Industry will work with governments to create a trajectory that supports climate, energy security and affordability goals.”

Some climate protection advocates say the oil and gas industry relies too heavily on carbon capture and storage as a primary means of reducing the industry’s emissions. They say the industry needs to work quickly on short-term solutions such as methane reduction.

A report released earlier this year by the Pembina Institute found that dealing with methane would be low cost and much could be done using existing technology that is already needed in other jurisdictions. Addressing methane quickly will be critical if the oil and gas sector is to achieve meaningful emissions reductions this decade, the report said.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on October 20, 2022.

Amanda Stevenson, Canadian Press

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