While the United Nations Secretary-General has said the report should spell the end of coal and fossil fuels, Premier Jason Kenney has said demand for the underground fruits from this oil-rich province is going nowhere. “The idea that we can shut down a major, industrialized economy with the flip of a switch is patently unrealistic,” Kenney told reporters at a press conference at an Edmonton brewery on Monday.
Ending the use of fossil fuels in a cold climate would come at “incalculable” cost in human lives, Kenney said.
He has been a strong advocate for Alberta’s oil and gas industry, creating a publicly funded “war room” to counter disinformation about producers’ environmental records and launching a $ 3.5 million public inquiry. dollars on foreign funding sources damaging the reputation of oil and petroleum in Alberta. gas.
The province has the third largest proven oil reserve in the world. The industry employs over 100,000 people in Alberta.
Kenney said Monday that the majority of the world depends on fossil fuels and that there is “no credible way” to eliminate the dependence of humans on this source of energy for the foreseeable future.
Canadians would have to park every vehicle, turn off their heat and give up air travel to do so, he said.
“It is a utopian notion that we can suddenly end the use of hydrocarbon-based energy,” he said. “The challenge is to reduce the production of carbon and CO2, and Alberta is increasingly a world leader in this regard.
the Municipal Center for Climate Change, which is partially funded by the Government of Alberta, states on its website that electric vehicles operate in cold climates and produce fewer emissions than gasoline-powered cars, even using Alberta’s coal-dependent electricity grid .
Kenney pointed out that provincial investments in carbon capture, use and storage technology and industry plans for the first net-zero hydrogen plant near Edmonton were key steps in addressing the issue. climate change.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, released on Monday, says some of the effects of man-made climate change are now irreversible and will have consequences for decades or more.
The report says human activity will likely warm the earth by more than 2 ° C warmer than in pre-industrial times, causing inevitable sea level rise, droughts and flooding unless the world can. achieve “deep reductions” in greenhouse gas emissions.
Alberta is the number one producer of greenhouse gases in the country, according to the federal government. Total carbon dioxide emissions from the oil and gas sector have also increased over the past 30 years, although the industry is becoming less emissions intensive.
Major Canadian oil producers have pledged to become net zero by 2050.
The Alberta opposition says the United Conservative Party’s plan to cut emissions is lackluster and threatens to scare away global investors.
The NDP wants Alberta’s electricity grid to be net zero by 2035, economic development and innovation spokesperson Deron Bilous said in a statement.