Calgary

Alberta energy experts talk climate crisis ahead of COP26

As national leaders head to COP26 to discuss the climate crisis, three Alberta experts weighed in on what that means for a province known for its oil and gas industry. 

Panel discussion focuses on Alberta’s role in helping Canada reach climate commitments

Alberta experts discuss province’s role in climate change ahead of COP26

3 months ago
Duration 16:22
Panel discussion focuses on Alberta’s role in helping Canada reach climate commitments. 16:22

Our planet is changing. So is our journalism. This story is part of a CBC News initiative entitled Our Changing Planet to show and explain the effects of climate change and what is being done about it.


As national leaders head to the United Nations climate change conference, three Alberta experts weighed in on what that means for a province known for its oil and gas industry. 

Canada will send a delegation to COP26 in Glasgow on Sunday.  

Ahead of that, CBC's Rob Brown hosted a panel with Marg McCuaig-Boyd, Alberta's former energy minister, Samir Kayande, business strategy consultant and energy analyst, and Ed Whittingham, a clean energy consultant. 

  • WATCH: Alberta experts discuss province's role in climate change ahead of COP26 in above video 

"Alberta, to be clear, is doing some good things. It could be doing more," Whittingham says. 

He says moves in the right direction include putting a price on carbon pollution, and regulations to reduce methane emissions, along with a coal phaseout commitment. 

  • Have questions about COP26 or climate science, policy or politics? Email us: ask@cbc.ca. Your input helps inform our coverage.

But he says the province needs a climate plan that has targets consistent with the Paris Agreement — the leading international agreement to limit global warming to well below 1.5 to two degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

"It needs to take stronger steps to reduce emissions in the oil and gas sector and frankly, follow the lead of many of the oil and gas players right now. Many have committed to net zero reducing their emissions," Whittingham said. 

But oil and gas companies still need a return on investment, Kayande says, especially as investment in oil and gas does not follow the increase in prices. 

"When you're talking about environmental projects, that has to be determined by some sort of a government overarching pricing or a carbon restriction that keeps going down over time. You know, something that that company can point to and say, 'Look, this actually makes money in the short run.'"

McCuaig-Boyd says Alberta needs to put more policies in place to ensure more clean tech is invested in. 

"We produce a lot of carbon and there's so many things, so many opportunities we could be looking at to utilize that carbon. And really diversification, I think, is the key in Alberta," McCuaig-Boyd said. 

She said the province needs a climate leadership plan that includes all sectors. 

"Not just oil and gas … what's the plan look like for wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, all of the different ones?" 

The Conference of Parties (COP) meets every year and is the global decision-making body set up in the early 1990s to implement the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and subsequent climate agreements.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now