This article originally appeared in the Calgary Herald May 30,2016
The way Albertans have come together in response to the terrible events in Fort McMurray shows what we’re capable of when we put aside our differences and work together.
We believe that we need to summon a similar spirit to address the interconnected issues of climate change, energy security, social equity and sustainable economic development. Our future prosperity depends on it.
We recognize that the world needs to find a way to provide energy for its citizens and economies while simultaneously pursuing efforts to limit the global average temperature increase to less than 2C above pre-industrial levels, as per the Paris COP21 Agreement. We also recognize that there is unprecedented global agreement with commitment to transitioning the global economy such that we can achieve this target.
Alberta faces big challenges and new opportunities at a time when the forces shaping the global energy system are evolving rapidly and affecting our province deeply.
As energy consumers living in a cold climate and geographically distant from other trading partners, Albertans use significant amounts of energy to live and do business. As an energy provider whose economic vitality is highly tied to the global energy economy, we face a new set of competitive factors.
We cannot expect that prosperity today lies in the same path that it did in the past. Neither can we abandon the resources and assets that have made our province prosperous until now.
Our prosperity challenge lies in developing and leveraging our resources and assets in a way that helps build the energy system that the future requires of us. This means simultaneously developing low/no-carbon energy opportunities while reducing the footprint of the higher-carbon energy products that are currently the backbone of our economy. Alberta can lead the world by showing how this can be done.
There is a long history of innovation in Alberta to build from. The capabilities and know-how Albertans have developed as a global energy leader can serve as a platform for the innovation required to address our current challenge. Doing so will create new opportunities to renew our economic vitality and to diversify the sources of our shared prosperity.
Climate leadership is not just the role of government. We all have a responsibility to play a part, and we’ll be better if we act together. The Energy Futures Lab shows that people from diverse backgrounds, interests and political loyalties can work together on these important issues.
We’re better together, Alberta.