Alberta Opposes Federal Move at COP28 Against Oil and Gas

Fossil fuel and wind energy

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith expressed positivity regarding Alberta and Saskatchewan’s efforts to resist the push “against the voices of those obsessed” with phasing out oil and natural gas at the COP28 climate summit held by the United Nations in Dubai.

In a joint statement with Alberta’s environment minister, Rebecca Schulz, Smith criticized federal environment minister Steven Guilbeault “and other radical activists,” opposing their approach as potentially inducing “an approach that would consign the world to energy poverty and economic stagnation by focusing only on ending all fossil fuel use.”

“That extreme position was defeated at COP28 by a growing alliance of thoughtful world leaders that well understand we can indeed grow our economies, develop our natural resources, and ensure energy and food security for the world while simultaneously reducing emissions through technology and multilateral cooperation,” according to the statement.

While nations at COP28 agreed to transition away from fossil fuels, the deal lacked a call for the outright phasing out of oil, gas, and coal, providing countries considerable flexibility in transitioning from these fuels.

Guilbeault praised the “monumental” agreement, crediting Canada for its “leading role in solidifying the deal.”

In a statement published on the social media site X, which was formerly Twitter, he said, “The deal sets the tone for the next few years as we continue our efforts in tackling the climate crisis.”

Many observers called the agreement a historic milestone in climate discussions, acknowledging its strength compared to an earlier draft that lacked any mention of fossil fuel reduction, although concerns remained regarding potential weaknesses and distractions that could disrupt essential climate measures.

The agreement encourages other countries to move away from fossil fuels in energy systems, “accelerating action in this critical decade so as to achieve net zero by 2050.”

Part of the 2015 Paris Agreement, the agreement requires nations to evaluate their efforts regularly to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius to prevent some of the worst effects of climate change. The first “global stocktake” process under the pact concluded with the summit in Dubai.

Currently, the world has warmed by an estimated 1.2 degrees since the mid-1800s, with expectations that this year will be the hottest on record.

During the two-week meeting, the federal government released several announcements, including draft regulations to significantly reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector and an emissions cap for the industry.

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Written by Olivia Woods

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