Less than a day before the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest, most dire assessment of the global climate emergency, Cenovus Energy CEO Alex Pourbaix let it be known—apparently without a hint of irony—that he expects Canadian taxpayers to shell out up to C$52.5 billion to help his industry get the carbon out of its operations.
“It’s going to take tens of billions of dollars over 30 years to decarbonize [our oil] industry,” Pourbaix said.
“But at the same time that will protect something in the range of $3 trillion of GDP,” he told the Financial Times. “If we’re able to solve the puzzle of making Canadian oil significantly lower carbon intensive,” he added, the end product will be the “cleanest in the world”.
“But Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government, which last year committed Canada to slashing emissions by 40-45% below its 2005 levels by 2030, must pay up to make it happen,” the Times writes, citing Pourbaix’ line of argument.
Neither the Cenovus CEO nor the Times addressed the 80% of that oil’s carbon content that is released after it’s shipped to its final destination and used as directed—regardless of whether companies like Cenovus can reduce their production emissions or who will pay for it.
The Times says Pourbaix and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers are still lobbying Ottawa to adopt a tax credit for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), a process that involves capturing carbon dioxide from fossil operations and injecting it underground to extract even more oil. The Trudeau government has said the carbon capture credits in this year’s federal budget won’t be available for EOR. But the fossil industry still has a reliable booster in Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan, Jr.
“Our prosperity and our economy are still highly dependent on” the fossil sector, he recently told the Times. “It is what we do.”