‘Just Transition’ Overview
Despite the recent election, the government is moving forward with requiring comments by this Thursday, September 30th for their “Just Transition” legislation. This election was nowhere near a concrete mandate for sweeping legislative change that opponents of oil and gas claim it was, yet the Liberal government is moving forward with this agenda to get rid of one of Canada’s largest industries.
According to the government, the “Just Transition” is intended to minimize the impacts on workers and communities while being more inclusive. However, the term “Just Transition” itself originates from the Green New Deal ideology which sees free-market enterprise as something that needs to be eliminated. This is part of the internationally funded and organized campaign for climate, social and racial justice which seeks to mandate the end of oil and gas.
Here are some key messages that CENN believes are valid arguments against this short-sighted push for the phasing out of Canadian oil and gas.
You can make your own submission to Natural Resources Canada by emailing them at email@example.com.
1. This election was a mandate for the status quo not radical legislative change to Canadian energy policy.
- The most recent federal election showed that Canadians were not in fact ready for a radical change and largely voted for the same government as they did in 2019 All the federal parties won basically the same number of seats as 2019’s federal election.
- In a recent poll by Leger, Canadians were evenly split on whether we should export more oil to global markets to replace production by less responsible countries – far from the resounding majority that some would lead you to believe oppose the energy sector.
2. A third option for climate, the circular economy, was not even considered.
- Even though billions of dollars are being committed to it, political leaders barely discussed carbon tech to achieve net-zero through a circular economy technology during the recent election.
- Carbon tech like carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration is advancing rapidly and will continue to improve and be deployed in more places at lower costs as a practical path to net-zero. In addition, emerging circular economy technologies hold the promise of true sustainability for oil and gas.
If Canada can transform oil and gas energy to net-zero, than it brings us to question the need to transition off of it.
3. Many experts think that we could be on the verge of an energy crisis.
- Mandating the phase-out of reliable oil and gas means Canada could leave itself open to possible energy crises like what was seen during the winter of 2021 in Texas. A lack of reliable energy supplies like natural gas was partially to blame as there was not enough supply to keep power plants going when their renewable grid went offline.
- The UK is currently going through an energy crisis right now where gasoline prices have skyrocketed almost 400% since the beginning of the year due to dwindling supply. Supply lines are shutting down and sectors like heavy industry and food and drink are facing the prospect of shutdowns.
4. It goes against Canada’s strategic advantage of being best in the world at oil and gas. We can reduce global emissions by producing more and taking global market share from less responsible producers.
- This study from Navius Research, using Quebec’s aluminum industry as a case study, shows that Canadian energy can offset less responsible energy from global producers. With a growing shift to reduce the impact of emissions, Canada can take a global approach and support the development goals of non-OECD countries by providing responsible energy.
- Canada produces energy with the highest Environmental, Social, and Governance standards.
5. Indigenous groups have not been meaningfully consulted on a “Just Transition”. It is undemocratic for a minority government to allow only 10 days to react to the election and finalize comments. This government only pursued UNDRIP legislation a short four months ago committing it to meaningful consultation with First Nation leaders on new legislation.
- Many First Nations believe that the government needs to consult on a nation-by-nation basis to give them true sovereignty on major changes to legislation that could affect them.
- This is especially true for legislation like a “Just Transition” since there are twice as many Indigenous people employed in the oil and gas industry than the Canadian average. According to PetroLMI, 13,900 self-identified Indigenous Peoples were directly employed in the oil and gas industry, a rise of 26% from 2014.