Despite desire for renewable energy, Alberta’s energy minister says oil and gas will be around for “decades.”

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage wants the federal government to approach the province’s oil and gas reserves as a strategic asset rather than a liability to be phased out in favor of renewable energy sources.

Savage stated at a press conference on Friday that Western democracies have been solely focused on climate change at the expense of energy security, reliability, and cost. She cited federal initiatives such as Bill C-69 and emissions caps on oil and gas development as examples of the federal government’s demonization of Alberta’s energy sector.

“Yes, we are in the midst of an energy shift.” We must address climate change, and we are doing so; yet, the transformation will take time and will not be easy. “Oil and gas will be used for decades during that transition,” Savage added.

Savage also argued that North America’s inability to prioritize energy security has made energy development difficult, resulting in a wealth transfer to Russia and Venezuela. According to Savage, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine underscored the necessity for “ethical” oil from Canada rather than Venezuela or Saudi Arabia.

“It’s quite disappointing to see the US government scrambling to expand supply from some of the world’s worst countries,” she said.

“In the oilsands, we have an industry that is committed to net-zero production.” It’s incredibly frustrating for us since we’re a responsible democratic government.”

Savage’s remark comes as the federal carbon price is due to rise from under nine cents to eleven cents per litre on April 1, a move that Environmental and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) claims is a key component of the government’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s entirely true to say that we still rely on fossil fuels during the shift away from fossil fuels,” said Werner Antweiler, a professor at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia. “I believe the fundamental question is… what policies can be implemented to deal with that transition?”

Antweiler also chastised the Alberta government’s opposition to a carbon tax, claiming that because laws are insufficient, carbon pricing is the most efficient method to put a price on the climate catastrophe.

Premier Jason Kenney has already stated that he opposes the federal carbon price because it penalizes those who consume energy.

“When pollution is priced, the industry will work out the most cost-effective strategy to cut emissions… “Alberta is saying that even if there is a climate crisis, we don’t need a carbon price, so this is simply another way of denying that there is a problem,” Antweiler said.

“That’s what I’ve never understood about Alberta’s approach, where they want to rely on regulation when it’s obvious to everyone who understands the topic that putting a price on pollution is a preferable method of accomplishing it.”

Savage’s remark comes after US President Joe Biden prohibited Russian oil imports on Tuesday, a move that critics argue would be the most effective method to push Moscow to withdraw from Ukraine. Kenney has advocated for a larger role for Canadian oil and gas, claiming that the US can use Albertan oil to replace “conflict oil” from Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Venezuela.

However, experts claim that the concept of ethical oil does not exist.

“Ethical oil does not exist; it is a made-up concept, because how do you define ethical?” What criteria are utilized to determine what constitutes ethical oil? “What constitutes ethical behavior is in the mind of the observer.” Antweiler was the one who inquired.

In terms of global warming, environmental justice, and violence against Indigenous women, Sourayan Mookerjea, a sociology professor at the University of Calgary, said oil produced in Canada is no different than oil produced everywhere else in the globe.

“The foundational and compounded brutality of colonialism, as well as the cultural genocide of Indigenous peoples, enable Canadian oil production.” “While nothing excuses Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, the oligarch problem is not solely a Russian issue,” he stated in an emailed statement to 770 CHQR.

ECCC was contacted by 770 CHQR for comment, but no response was received in time for publishing.