A gradual phase out of Canadian oil and gas production as a means of achieving net-zero emissions in this country would introduce greater costs to the economy without a corresponding environmental benefit, versus investments to decarbonize oil and gas, such as carbon capture, says a new report released Thursday by The Public Policy Forum.
The $100 Billion Difference: Relative Costs of Two Net Zero Approaches report compared two possible scenarios for achieving net zero emissions: In one scenario, Canada pursues broad-based, sector-agnostic emissions reductions, as with a carbon tax, and in the second, oil and gas production is phased out as a matter of targeted policy.
The organization said the study, by Vancouver-based Navius Research Inc., an independent and impartial research firm that models the effect of climate and energy policy on the economy and environment, found that both pathways were successful in achieving net zero emissions, but the latter imposed an additional $100 billion in lost GDP by 2050, with some $60 billion of the losses occurring in the province of Alberta.
“There is no way of doing nothing in the face of the climate emergency. Urgent and sustained action is required,” said PPF President and CEO Edward Greenspon. “The question is what course produces the best environmental outcome for Canadians while causing the least disruption possible on the way to net zero.”
The report had five key takeaways for climate policymakers:
- Canada is not on track to achieve net zero on the basis of current policy or 2030 targets.
- An accelerated phaseout of fossil fuel production introduces economic pain with no added environmental gain.
- The economic burden of an accelerated fossil-fuel phaseout falls disproportionately on oil and gas producing provinces, particularly Alberta.
- The incomes of everyday Canadians decline as well under this particular scenario.
- Canada’s trade balance weakens with the curtailment one way or another of its largest export category and it could become a net oil importer.
(Mario Toneguzzi is Managing Editor of Canada’s Podcast. He has more than 40 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald, covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He works as well as a freelance writer for several national publications and as a consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named in 2021 as one of the Top 10 Business Journalists in the World by PR News – the only Canadian to make the list)
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