Alberta's energy future - What plan? Andrew Nikiforuk
From the June 5-18, 2006 issue of Canadian Business magazine
It's only 16 pages long and hasn't yet been shared with the public, but Alberta's Integrated Energy Strategy, if adopted as currently drafted, could eventually leave a hefty fossil-fuel footprint on every Canadian business. Given that the federal government has no coherent energy plan of any kind, the province's document could simply fill the bill by default. And just what does Alberta, which supplies Canada with 70% of its oil and 80% of its natural gas, have in store for the rest of the country? Well, the answer is pretty much business as usual.
The blueprint, which was recently sent to "energy stakeholders" for comment, is billed as the vision of Greg Melchin, the politician in charge of Alberta's powerful ministry of energy (which supplies the province with about 33% of its revenue). It calls for "an aggressive pace of development" for oil, gas and coal, and also envisions more exports to China and the United States. Remarkably, the words "energy conservation" or "efficiency" rarely appear, and global warming gets short shift altogether, as though the clouds of carbon dioxide pouring out of the oilsands simply don't exist. Even the term "peak oil" (the point at which extraction begins to decline) fails to get a nod.
The paper's collection of clichés ("an integrated approach to unleashing energy innovation") and glaring omissions have many energy experts dumbfounded, if not worried. "If you have a scarce resource and the whole world wants it, you should have a plan that maximizes the benefits and provides the best opportunities before it's gone," says Bruce Smedley, a Calgary-based global development consultant and former oilpatch engineer. "This strategy doesn't do that. It's a liquidation policy. You could go so far as to say this isn't a plan at all."
Find blog posts, photos, events and more off-site about:
Tories, Consevatives, Ambrose, Environment, Green, GreenPlan, Government, Politics, Alberta, Tar-Sands, Oil, petroindustry, Calgary, air, pollution, smog, Ontario, cars, automitive, automobile,