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Opinion

Canada’s energy future

By Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr      

By driving innovation, improving environmental performance, restoring public confidence and advancing Indigenous partnerships, we can create the prosperity we all want while protecting the planet we all cherish, writes Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr.

Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr hosted the Generation Energy conference in Winnipeg from Oct. 11-12. The Hill Times file photograph
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What happens when 380,000 Canadians imagine our country’s energy future? You get a vision of what Canada can be; a country built on the three pillars of economic prosperity, environmental protection and Indigenous partnerships.

That is just one of the many takeaways from Generation Energy, an ongoing conversation with Canadians about energy and what it will look like in a generation.

Another 650 Canadians advanced those discussions during a two-day Generation Energy forum in Winnipeg this fall—an historic event that brought together Canada’s energy producers and suppliers, as well as international experts, Indigenous leaders, consumers, environmental organizations, and all levels of government—everyone in one place for the first time.

The message is clear: We are in the midst of an energy transition and all sources of energy will be needed if Canada is to emerge as a global leader in the low-carbon economy.

What does that mean in practical terms?

It means leveraging the traditional resources we have today to deliver clean-energy solutions for tomorrow.

That’s why our government approved the Trans Mountain expansion and Line 3 replacement pipelines. Both projects will create thousands of good jobs, create access to new export markets and advance Canada’s national interests while still fitting within our climate plan to 2030 and Alberta’s 100 megatonne cap for greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, we are working with Indigenous communities to co-develop advisory and environmental monitoring committees that are a Canadian first for major energy projects.

In fact, all of our decisions are part of a much larger picture that includes:

  • Signing the Pan Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change
  • Putting a price on carbon.
  • Accelerating the phase out of coal.
  • Restoring public confidence in our environmental assessment and regulatory processes.
  • Launching an historic $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan.
  • Investing in clean technology and infrastructure
  • Creating a low-carbon fuel standard.
  • And, with our provincial and territorial colleagues, developing a national plan for combating climate change.

So where do we go from here?

There are at least three things we can do, and in many cases, we are doing to secure Canada’s clean-energy future.

First, we have to continue to expand our existing sources of renewable energy and develop emerging ones such as geothermal, tidal and offshore wind.

Second, we must keep making our traditional sources of energy even cleaner by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the extraction and processing stages, tackling methane emissions, and developing carbon capture technology to lessen the impact of burning fossil fuels.

Finally, we have to use less of both. The International Energy Agency estimates that energy efficiency measures alone could get us almost halfway to our Paris commitments. The technology exists. We just have to use it.

Collaborating with the provinces and territories will be critical to all three.

By driving innovation, improving environmental performance, restoring public confidence and advancing Indigenous partnerships, we can create the prosperity we all want while protecting the planet we all cherish.

That is the message from Generation Energy and it is our vision for Canada’s low-carbon future.

Jim Carr is the natural resources minister and Liberal MP for Winnipeg South Centre. 

The Hill Times 

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