So Rona Ambrose and Rachael Notley think building oil pipelines is the answer to saving the ‘crippled’ oil industry in Alberta? I came across the article on the CBC website just after finishing my post yesterday. I must admit, it leaves me a tad breathless at Ambrose’s nerve.
I get it with Notley, she’s under incredible pressure right now. She took over against all odds from the ruling Conservatives in Alberta, implemented the very policies that the Conservatives had themselves stated would be necessary and is being attacked from all sides. She needs to deflect some heat elsewhere.
Ambrose and the Harper Era
Ambrose, on the other hand, was part of the Harper era. In almost ten years of Harper rule, those oil pipelines she’s now demanding were unable to come to life. She expects the new Liberal government to deliver in a world already awash with oil.
Harper used one of the several omnibus bills dressed up as a budget bill to gut our environmental laws in order to facilitate approval for those pipelines. He still couldn’t accomplish them. Maybe part of the problem was that Harper and his government were out of step and tone deaf to what the rest of the world was waking up to. We’re killing the environment. We need to act in an environmentally responsible manner.
Gutting the environmental laws and oversight served to kill public confidence in the process. It stiffened opposition to the projects here in Canada and provided ammunition for opponents elsewhere like in the US. Trudeau’s government realizes if they want to get the projects underway, they have to restore public confidence. In order to do that, they will need the oil industry to work in partnership on environmental safeguards.
Even if Harper had managed to get those pipelines in place during his almost ten years. Where exactly would the oil they were meant to carry be going? Oil prices have been steadily dropping for at least two years. The world has more supply than demand.
Time For Innovation
Most of the reports I’ve seen from economists is that if the price of oil recovers from the levels currently being experienced — it could take ten to fifteen years. As the world moves away from the massive use of fossil fuels like oil, does it really make sense to be spending billions on building oil pipelines?
Maybe the industry might be wise to put some focus on some of the innovative ways that non-fossil energy is being produced and delivered. They could put some resources into making those methods widely available in North America and beyond.
There are massive benefits to moving out in front of the changes. There is a lot of downside to clinging to old ways while the rest of the world is moving towards change.
Leadership now rather than racing to catch up later.