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Giving up oil and other fossil fuels is "patently unrealistic", Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said in comments on the IPCC climate report released yesterday, which warned that humankind's window for addressing climate change was closing fast.
The report attributed—with a high to an extremely high degree of likelihood—the accelerated and increasingly dramatic changes in the planet's climate to our use of fossil fuels and the resultant emissions.
"The notion that we can shut off a major, industrialized economy with the flick of a switch is patently unrealistic," Alberta's Kenney said, as quoted by CBC News, adding that giving up fossil fuels for a country with the geographical location—and climate—of Canada would come at a cost that will be measured in human lives.
Kenney went on to note that most of the world was dependent on fossil fuels, and there was "no credible way" to eliminate this dependence in the observable future.
"It is a utopian notion that we can suddenly end the use of hydrocarbon based energy," the Alberta Premier said. "The challenge is to shrink carbon and CO2 output, and Alberta is increasingly a world leader in that respect."
"The industry is confident that they have a place in the future of energy development. It's going to certainly be a different mix of energy sources going forward," according to Tristan Goodman, president of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada, as quoted by the Financial Post. "Many of our businesses are entering the renewables space, so it's not an either or," he added.
"We cannot go to renewables overnight and the world still needs fossil fuels," said Gurpreet Lail, president and CEO of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada.
The province is home to Canada's oil sands wealth. It's also the biggest producer of greenhouse gases because of its oil industry. Sector players have recently started making emission reduction commitments, with the biggest among them vowing to become net-zero businesses by 2050.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.