Climate inaction threatens future of oilsands: Suncor CEO

Suncor Energy says one of its biggest challenges as it celebrates 50 years of oilsands production is responding to climate change.

'We recognize the ... problem and I think we will solve that with new technologies,' says Steve Williams

Suncor says climate change is one of the biggest threats to the future of the oilsands. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Suncor Energy says one of the biggest challenges facing the Alberta oilsands is responding to climate change.

Suncor president and CEO Steve Williams shared the comments during the company's 50th-anniversary celebration in Fort McMurray on Wednesday.

"We recognize the climate-change problem and I think we will solve that with new technologies," Williams said. "So we will earn the right to be here for the next 100 and 200 years."

Williams reiterated the comments in a video the company posted online the same day.

Mark Little, president of Suncor's upstream organization, agreed that the company will reduce its carbon footprint with new technologies.

"It's about innovation, it's not about standing still," Little said. "We can always find things we think we need to do better."

Steve Williams, Suncor’s president and CEO, speaks with CBC News at the company's 50th-anniversary celebration in Fort McMurray. (David Thurton/ CBC)

Suncor's website says the company is using and improving its technology that removes carbon from bitumen and also carbon capture and storage technology. It's also using lower-carbon fuels like natural gas at its facilities and generating electricity from waste heat.

In 2016, Suncor pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 30 per cent by 2030.

Suncor opened its first facility in the oilsands on September 30th, 1967. 

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David Thurton

Senior reporter, Parliamentary Correspondent

David Thurton is a senior reporter in CBC's Parliamentary Bureau. He covers daily politics in the nation’s capital and specializes in environment and energy policy. Born in Canada but raised in Trinidad and Tobago, he’s moved around more times than he can count. He’s worked for CBC in several provinces and territories, including Alberta and the Northwest Territories.