In 2017, solar investment alone eclipsed investment in coal, nuclear, and all the renewables

On Friday, June 15th, 2018 in Debate, Environmental Assessment, Parliament

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, I suppose we agree that the bill is flawed, but I want to correct a few things.

There were at least two opposition amendments accepted. I still cannot vote for Bill C-69, but I want to make sure that people know that, on the recommendation of Professor Martin Olszynski, who was referenced in my friend’s speech, we amended proposed subsection 6(3) to say, “The Government…must, in the administration of this Act, exercise their powers in a manner that adheres to the principles of scientific integrity, honesty, objectivity, thoroughness and accuracy.”

I would rather see more about science in the bill. I would rather see less ministerial discretion. However, this debate, repeatedly, for weeks now, has singled out large oil companies leaving Alberta, as if the only reason these large oil companies have left has something to do with pipelines. The reality is global.

Globally, to give some context, investment in fossil fuels is shrinking. Globally, investment in renewables is growing like Topsy. In fact, in 2017, solar investment alone eclipsed investment in coal, nuclear, and all the renewables. The price of solar has been plummeting. Globally, greenhouse gases fell last year in the U.S., Russia, Brazil, China, throughout the EU, and, of course, in the U.K. They dropped infinitesimally in Canada. It was a 1.4% drop.

We are part of a global transition right now, which is why large companies like Statoil, from Norway, Royal Dutch Shell, France’s Total, and ConocoPhillips, when they left the oil sands, said that they were leaving because they did not want stranded assets. In the words of Mark Carney, current president of the Bank of England, they did not want “unburnable carbon”, because there are assets in oil and gas that will be left in the ground, which represent a financial liability.

Tom Kmiec – Member for Calgary Shepard

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her question. She is always very precise with the types of questions she asks, especially when it comes to the energy industry. However, if we look at the IEA numbers on upstream capital spending, it shows that in 2016, 2017, and 2018, spending has been going up, not down. Therefore, I would challenge the drop in investment. It is going up.

When we are looking at markets like Alberta versus Texas, I mentioned that energy workers are heading to Texas to work. Because of the regulatory system and the way Texas has established its tax system, which is very competitive, we have energy companies moving investment there, so its investments are going up, not down. It is one of our competitor markets. As much as we would like to think it is one of our purchasers, it is also a big seller of oil these days.

To the point about the world international market situation, we know that oil demand is going up, not down. Again, the IEA has these numbers showing very clearly that demand for oil is heading upwards. It is not heading down. As much as we may champion that investment that is being made by many private sector companies in solar power, it does not mean that we should be undermining in some way the development of energy through the oil sands or through regular horizontal drilling and natural gas in Canada. We can do both, and the private sector is typically leading the way.

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