Oil and gas reserves may expand, but our carbon budget is shrinking rapidly

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, there are a number of points in my friend from Bow River’s presentation that require a bit of a fact check.

There is a big difference on the west coast of B.C., particularly between Haida Gwaii and the coast. Hecate Strait particularly is an extremely active body of water. There is nothing like it or comparable, for instance, on the St. Lawrence Seaway or in eastern Canada. That is a bit of a backgrounder for why the moratorium was in place from 1972 until 2012, because of the specific threats to B.C.’s coast that oil tankers posed at that time.

I particularly want to take the member up on this idea that we have all this oil and gas, and that it keeps expanding. He may be quite right. We never thought we could frack Bakken shale, and we did not think we could pull bitumen up out of the oil sands, and that has expanded the available petroleum resources.

What is shrinking, what is finite, and what is actually overloaded is the space in the shared atmosphere for warming gases. If we look at any of the carbon budgets put forward by the efforts globally of scientists, we cannot afford to expand our fossil fuel use at all. We have to shrink it rapidly. I would ask him if he is familiar with recent science, and if he understands that a global catastrophe awaits those who think we can increase the volume of fossil fuels we use.

Martin Shields – Member for Bow River

Mr. Speaker, I know my colleague is extremely well versed on this particular topic and would have a much more significant depth and breadth of issues to deal with it.

What I do know is that I have met some of the most important people in terms of their skills, knowledge, and innovation. I believe that we have tremendous people on this globe who have found ways to do things innovatively that we did not even think of 15 years ago, maybe even 10 years ago. They have the ability to find different methods of dealing with those issues, such as the catastrophe that was mentioned, and we can solve those issues. We have tremendous people on this planet who can do that, and I believe in the people who live here.