BREAKING: Oil Sector ‘is Doomed’ in a 1.5° World, Says Ex-Industry Exec
Canada’s oil and gas sector may have no future if implementation of the Paris Agreement leads toward a 1.5° long-term limit on average global warming, ex-energy industry manager Ross Belot argued yesterday in an opinion piece on iPolitics.
“The consequences for Canada of the Paris Accord come down to two inescapable truths: We need to plan for the future of sectors other than oil and gas—while for the oil and gas sector itself, there may not be a future,” Belot writes.
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“We must accept that, if the world succeeds in getting out of the carbon economy, much of Canada’s energy sector will have to be dismantled.”
The International Energy Agency’s 2015 World Energy Outlook calls for coal use to grow 10%, oil by 12%, and natural gas by 47% between 2014 and 2040. And in that scenario, Canadian oil production grows from four million to seven million barrels per day between 2014 and 2050.
But the Outlook results also equated to 2.7°C average global warming by 2100, Belot notes. The IEA’s 2.0° scenario saw coal and oil use declining, and a recent article in the journal Nature Climate Change “concludes that, under a 1.5° target, we can only burn about half the carbon we can consume under the 2°C scenario before carbon neutrality must occur.”
Belot concludes that “if the world moves to limit the increase in temperature to 2°C, then the oilsands sector probably cannot grow, although natural gas may have some use. If the world moves to 1.5°C, then the oilsands sector has no future at all—and even Canada’s natural gas production is questionable on a long-term basis.”
That means the task for provincial premiers is to “position those parts of their economies that are outside the oil and gas sector for the future, by pushing green electrification and carbon pricing to drive the necessary changes in the most efficient manner.” As for national targets, “it makes sense to look at Canada’s economy in two baskets: oil and gas, and everything else.”