We Don’t Talk About “OIL”…..NO….NO….NO

It seems to be the elephant in the room, especially for a resident of Alberta. We don’t discuss oil and gas; it’s a very political topic, designed to create division among Canadians. Lucy expected that there would be a cap on oil production announced by the Federal Government to help meet the targets of CO2 reductions for 2030 and 2050 with the survival of our planet at stake. That does not seem to be coming. The cap focuses only on emissions and not on oil and gas production. Because of the carbon tax imposed on companies, the focus for oil and gas companies is on reducing emissions and making the production of oil and gas much cleaner. Lucky for the oil and gas companies, the oil price of late has been high, as these efficiencies are expensive. As well the Feds are helping fund innovation. For example, the pricey ‘carbon capture’ seemed at one point to be unattainable, and now, within only a few yeas, is considered mainstream. Who knows, Canada may be well positioned to have the cleanest oil and gas by 2050, and this is good, since the world will want our oil and gas and a certain amount of it will always be needed. But, in line with recent CBC opinion polling, production limits should also be part of the equation, as every approach and tool and type of ingenuity will have to be part of the equation. We humans are continually behind in meeting every target that has been set to limit our planet from exceeding an increase of 1.5 degrees.

Options to cap and cut oil and gas sector greenhouse gas emissions to achieve 2030 goals and net-zero by 2050 suggested by the Government of Canada

Canada’s current target is to cut emissions by 2030 to 55 to 60 per cent of what they were in 2005. That will require cutting around 300 million tonnes a year from current levels. Canada plans to invest in alternative energies including biogas and hydrogen, smaller unit nuclear power and carbon capture, utilization and storage.

In the fall of 2022 the Federal government, with ‘Best-in-class draft guidance’ sought feedback on how to proceed in its two proposed options for capping oil and gas sector emissions.

Choice 1: Cap and Trade System that sets a regulated limit on emissions from the sector or

Choice 2:Modifying the pollution pricing benchmark requirements to create price-driven limits on emissions from the oil and gas sector.

(A decision is expected in 2023. The feedback sent to the Federal government from the Pembina Institute will be blogged at the end of this post.)

“Reaching Canada’s 2030 climate targets and achieving net-zero will require significant additional reductions, and there is no single or simple solution for transitioning Canada’s oil and gas sector towards net-zero by 2050. Given the unique features of each subsector, multiple pathways will be required. Solutions will also vary regionally, depending on access to infrastructure, carbon storage, energy grid mixes, and availability of clean electricity and other fuels.”  

Key Decarbonization Options for the Oil and Gas Sector

Electrification includes the deployment of co-generation, renewables, small nuclear reactors, or electrification of transport equipment, operational processes and low-temperature heat processes to reduce GHG emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels throughout the oil and gas sector.

Steam displacement refers to the use of solvents, such as diluent, propane, and natural gas that chemically dilute bitumen to reduce viscosity and allow it to flow at lower temperatures, reducing the need to generate and use steam by in-situ oil sands production, a major source of GHG emissions

Fuel switching opportunities include replacing petroleum coke boilers with natural gas equipment and the expanded use of low-carbon or renewable fuels for heat and energy, including clean hydrogen.

Energy efficiency and other process improvements include upgrades to equipment, use of advanced leak detection and repair technologies, digitization and automation of processes, among other solutions.

Methane Abatement options include continuous leak detection and repair, electrification of equipment such as compressors and pneumatic devices fueled by natural gas and limiting fugitive releases from tanks and wells. “

Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) has potential to mitigate a significant share of GHG emissions from the oil and gas sector by 2050.

“About 88% of oil sands emissions come from burning fossil fuels to extract bitumen during mining or in-situ operations and to upgrade that bitumen into synthetic crude. Oil sands producers have been investigating ways to reduce the steam-oil ratio which would reduce the amount of natural gas required for bitumen extraction. The use of solvents to assist the steam extraction process can become cost-effective at higher crude prices. Advances in post-combustion capture could also help capture CO2 emissions from combustion equipment. For example, companies such as Svante and Fluor have been developing next generation absorbent and adsorbent technologies, and Shell Canada’s Cansolv technology has been deployed successfully to recover CO2 from the Boundary Dam coal-fired generating station in Saskatchewan.”

“Some emerging solutions, such as clean hydrogen blending to replace natural gas, the use of solvents for steam displacement, and methane capture and use, could be implemented in the coming years, while others such as small nuclear reactors could take more than a decade to implement.”

Investments Being Made By the Oil and Gas Sector

“The oil and gas sector is one of the leading investors in clean technology and innovation in Canada, making an estimated 58% of all energy research and development investments (averaging about $1B/year) over the decade to 2019. Oil and gas companies such as Shell Canada, Whitecap Resources, Wolf Midstream, Enhance Energy, and Northwest Redwater Partnership are leaders in carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS).

“Other companies have announced investments and plans to decarbonize their operations in the coming decades. For example, Pembina Pipeline announced a $195 million project to fuel operations with wind power in 2021. Suncor Energy and ATCO are in the early stages of developing a clean hydrogen project that could reduce emissions at Suncor’s Edmonton oil refinery by 60 per cent and provide broader benefits for Alberta. Tidewater Midstream and Imperial Oil are advancing renewable diesel projects. These are just some recent examples of innovative projects for emissions reductions in the oil and gas sector.”

“Many Canadian oil and gas companies have already set net-zero-emissions targets and have developed decarbonization plans. This includes the Pathways Alliance, comprised of Canadian Natural Resources, Cenovus Conoco Phillips Canada, Imperial Oil, MEG Energy and Suncor Energy — which collectively account for 95% of Canada’s oil sands production. To achieve net-zero by 2050, this Initiative proposes a $75 billion investment to deploy a combination of clean electrification, operational efficiencies, emerging technologies such as low-emission hydrogen and carbon capture, small modular nuclear-image below), and offsets to eliminate 68 Mt from oil sands operations.”

“Central to these planned activities is the point-source capture of CO2 from oil sands facilities, which would travel by pipeline from Fort McMurray to be sequestered permanently underground. The Pathways Initiative, with a slogan “Let’s Clean the Air” envisions a phased GHG reduction over three 10-year segments to 2050, starting with 22 Mt of absolute emission reductions by 2030. The Pathways Alliance, representing Canada’s six largest oil sands companies, is (spending many billions of dollars) advancing early work necessary to build one of the world’s largest carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities in the oil sands region of northern Alberta.”

“Canada’s oil and gas sector is poised to leverage its expertise to gain a competitive advantage in a range of emerging industries. Clean fuels such as hydrogen are expected to help Canada achieve its net-zero target while creating jobs and economic opportunity in Canada. Given the essential role hydrogen plays as a feedstock in refining, increasing the use of clean hydrogen presents an opportunity to drive down emissions from the sectorFootnote 20. Growth in production of value-added non-combustion products such as asphalt, petrochemicals, zero-carbon fuels or carbon fibres also presents major opportunities in a world transitioning to net-zero.”

http://surl.li/eglzu

What Does the Pembina Institute Think?

PUBLICATION – Sept. 29, 2022 – By Janetta McKenzieScott MacDougallJan GorskiEyab Al-Aini

In September 2022, the Pembina Institute submitted comments to Environment and Climate Change Canada on its two proposed options for capping oil and gas sector emissions (as listed above).

This cap will be crucial in ensuring that Canada’s oil and gas sector contributes its fair share of greenhouse gas emissions reductions to Canada’s economy-wide targets (of a 45% reduction below 2005 levels by 2030, and net-zero by 2050). Oil and gas production remains Canada’s largest source of emissions, and unlike some other industrial sectors, its emissions have continued to grow in recent years — by 19% between 2005 and 2019. To do its fair share, Canada’s oil and gas sector must also reduce its emissions by 45% from 2005 levels by 2030.

Recommendation Summary

“Environment and Climate Change Canada should finalize and announce a clear emissions cap target for 2026 and 2030. At a minimum, the cap for oil and gas sector emissions should be set at a 45% reduction from 2005 levels by 2030, with clear implementation timelines. Providing this level of certainty on the trajectory and ambition of the cap is critical to incentivize urgent investments in decarbonization. Recent opinion polling illustrates that most Canadians agree that it is time for a cap on emissions from oil and gas production, to ensure that this sector does its fair share in achieving Canada’s climate targets.”

“Both cap Options 1 and 2 are complex, and require careful design and implementation to ensure appropriate emissions reductions, while preparing Canadian industry for a net-zero global economy…… and with the urgency of reducing Canada’s rising oil and gas sector emissions, Option 1 (cap-and-trade) is preferred. It likely offers the earliest implementation date (in 2024 or early 2025) and could be designed to work with existing measures to further incentivize the oil and gas sector to do its fair share to meet Canada’s 2030 emission reduction targets.”

“If the Government of Canada does not believe Option 1 can implemented in these stated timelines, we propose a third option — a system of facility-level emissions limits similar to the federal coal-fired electricity facility limits. This interim option should be rapidly implemented to drive timely emission reductions at oil and gas facilities. Option 1 could still be developed in parallel and implemented when ready. At that time, the facility limits could be rescinded, if found to be redundant with cap-and-trade.

http://surl.li/egmak

We shall see what the Federal Government decides in 2023. The conservative government of Alberta believes that the Federal government can not mandate cuts in oil and gas production, an speculates that the aggressive emissions reduction targets for the oil and gas sector is only possible with cuts to production as well. Interesting! This is also what most environmentalists are saying.

 The Government is committed to eliminating inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, and developing a plan to phase out public financing for the fossil fuel sector including by federal Crown corporations. It has also established the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) and the Energy Innovation Program (EIP).

Are CO2 Emissions Being Underestimated?

In an article by Nature.org titled” Measured Canadian Oil Sands CO2 Emissions Made Using internationally Recommended Methods” the abstract says:

https://ideas.repec.org/a/nat/natcom/v10y2019i1d10.1038_s41467-019-09714-9.html

CBC Survey “ Albertans Aren’t Afraid Of Transitioning Away From Oil”

November 16, 2022 random poll of 1200 people posted by Elise Avon Scheel for CBC News

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/alberta-oil-and-gas-poll-1.6652674

So 62 % of Edmontonians and 64% of Calgarians and 50% of those in the rest of the province believe that transitioning Alberta’s economy away from fossil fuels could be a good thing. There is an attitude shift happening in Alberta! Maybe we can talk about oil after all!

Happy Healthy Hopeful and Inspiring New Year

Unsettled as 2022 has been, we close the year with gratitude, including for our Readers’ ongoing engagement and encouragement in following together with us in our climate action learning journey.

We are optimistic for the future, with clarity and a mix of confidence and humility to underpin our resolve to keep on our paths for more learning, changing and adapting behaviours to be ever more mindful of our footprint on Planet Earth—this home we share with 7.8 billion fellow humans and the contested estimates of anywhere from 8.7 million to 1 trillion other living species of plants and animals – and to honour our personal desire and commitment to do our part for a better, healthier, livable world for the generations who will follow in our footsteps, with any luck.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” (Margaret Mead, https://bit.ly/3jGvvBU)

The words of Margaret Mead resonate and inspire for the daunting effort still ahead to keep overall global warming to 1.5C. The real world action and impact of Adama Diémé, one everyday individual resolved to doing his part to make a difference in his corner of southern Senegal inspires us and renews our hope in our fellow humans and what is possible for moving ahead toward a brighter, carbon neutral future for all.

Ununukolaal – “Our Trees”

Mr Diémé was shocked to return to his village in southern Senegal and find an absence of trees where in his childhood they once had been lush along the Casamance River.  “With no great reserves of wealth, he began to raise money to make his dream a reality (to plant five million trees in five years) – and has used $5,000 from his own pocket to kick-start the initiative.” 

“Mr Diémé’s project is known as Ununukolaal, which in the local language Jola means ‘Our Trees’.” Read more in this BBC piece – BBC – https://bbc.in/3VKCAic

Historic Global Agreement for Nature, People and a Resilient World

Mr Diémé inspires us as an individual.

Fighting climate change and keeping global warming to 1.5C however, will take world-wide effort and cooperation, by individuals, organizations, governments of all levels, NGOs and the private sector, sustained for decades to come.

Protecting for global biodiversity is an inter-related and just as significant, urgent global challenge and call for transformational change in mindsets and practices, on behalf of ecosystems, humanity and a sustainable green global economy.

As 2022 draws to an end, we find hope and optimism for the future in the historic global agreement reached on December 19, 2022, in Montreal, Canada in the wrap up to COP15. Here is what the European Union (EU) reports on its website about the “Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework” – https://bit.ly/3jH1QIJ

“Early this morning at the UN Biodiversity conference COP15 in Montréal, Canada, the EU joined 195 countries in the historic Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. This framework contains global goals and targets aiming to protect and restore nature for current and future generations, ensure its sustainable use as well as spur investments for a green global economy. Together with the Paris Agreement on climate, it paves the way towards a climate-neutral, nature-positive and resilient world by 2050.”

“The agreement is a solid framework with clear, measurable goals and targets, with complete monitoring, reporting, and review arrangements to track progress complemented by a robust resource mobilisation package.”

“More than half of global GDP depends on ecosystem services. 70% of the world’s most vulnerable people depend directly on wild species. The Kunming-Montreal agreement will accelerate ambitious policies around the world and mobilise financing for biodiversity from all sources – USD 200 billion per year by 2030. It commits the global community to actions to protect and restore nature and remove pollution – such as those that are part of the European Green Deal. This will ensure that nature continues sustaining societies, economies and communities for decades to come.”

Goals and targets for ambitious action by 2030 and 2050

“The Kunming-Montreal biodiversity agreement includes key global targets to:

  • Restore 30% degraded ecosystems globally (on land and sea) by 2030 Conserve and manage 30% areas (terrestrial, inland water, and coastal and marine) by 2030
  • Stop the extinction of known species, and by 2050 reduce tenfold the extinction risk and rate of all species (including unknown)
  • Reduce risk from pesticides by at least 50% by 2030
  • Reduce nutrients lost to the environment by at least 50% by 2030
  • Reduce pollution risks and negative impacts of pollution from all sources by 2030 to levels that are not harmful to biodiversity and ecosystem functions
  • Reduce global footprint of consumption by 2030, including through significantly reducing overconsumption and waste generation and halving food waste
  • Sustainably manage areas under agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries, and forestry and substantially increase agroecology and other biodiversity-friendly practices
  • Tackle climate change through nature-based solutions
  • Reduce the rate of introduction and establishment of invasive alien species by at least 50% by 2030
  • Secure the safe, legal and sustainable use and trade of wild species by 2030
  • Green up urban spaces.”

Mobilising finance and allow for business to take responsibility for biodiversity

“The deal will significantly increase the mobilisation of finance for biodiversity from all sources, domestic, international – both public and private – mobilising at least USD 200 billion per year by 2030. It will create incentives for domestic and international sources, including from business investment.”

“It also addresses subsidies harmful to biodiversity, with the commitment to identify by 2025 and eliminate by 2030 a total of at least USD 500 billion per year.”

“As part of the agreement, the EU subscribed to an international solidarity package, particularly for the most vulnerable countries and the most biodiverse. The new Global Biodiversity Framework Fund established under the Global Environment Facility will be open to financing from all sources.”

“In a major step to improve business action on biodiversity, large and transnational companies and financial institutions will be required to regularly monitor, assess and disclose risks, dependencies and impacts on biodiversity; and provide information to consumers to promote sustainable consumption.” To read more at the EU website – https://bit.ly/3jH1QIJ

Chihuly Glass and Garden Exhibition

We leave 2022 and look ahead to 2023 with a few quotes that we hope will inspire and close with images (and a plant list !) from the beautiful, shimmering, joyful Chihuly Glass and Garden space in Seattle to lift spirits and fire the imagination for growing (and/or travel) season 2023 ahead! (Stock photos above)

“As long as you have a garden you have a future and as long as you have a future you are alive.”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett (https://bit.ly/3i4Z2oh)

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”
― Audrey Hepburn (https://bit.ly/3jHAL8i)

“Chihuly has shown his artwork in botanical gardens all over the world, but this was his first time working with a landscape designer to create a space unlike that of any garden or exhibition elsewhere. The unique plant collection is specially chosen to complement Chihuly’s work and the striking colors and forms of the trees, plants, and flowers create a rich backdrop for the art. With an ever-changing, lush landscape, those who visit will enjoy a distinct experience with each new season.”  (https://bit.ly/3IcteZl)

Here is the link to the garden’s Master Plant list, where we were intrigued to find, and want to learn more about, perennials (among others) with names such as Fairy Wings, Kangaroo Plant, Mouse Plant and Dwarf Goat Beard. Enjoy and happy garden and/or travel planning 🙂 ! ( https://bit.ly/3VBxX9Y)

We wish everyone a Happy, Healthy, Hopeful and Awe-Inspiring New Year!