Federal minister of natural resources Jim Carr recently addressed the Calgary Chamber about oil sands innovation and its role in Canada’s energy future, reports the CBC. Carr was quoted as saying there is “no better example of innovation” than the Alberta oil sands industry.
Carr continued, “It was innovation that led to the development of the oil sands in the first place, and it will be innovation that will get us to a place where those processes emit fewer greenhouse gas emissions while we invest in renewable sources of energy.”
Optimism for the Oil Sands?
Although the minister acknowledged that “It’s not going to happen tomorrow,” he said he remains optimistic about an eventual turnaround in the provincial energy industry. To stay competitive in the global energy industry, asserted Carr, Canada needs to invest in energy infrastructure and foster innovation.
These sentiments found a warm reception from the chamber’s audience of local business and political leaders. However, their key interest was in federal policy details rather than general statements of reassurance. Carr himself spoke of the need for “predictability” and “certainty” in the government’s treatment of the industry.
Environment Remains a Focus
In addition to economic concerns, Carr also mentioned the environment as a focus for the government, including the its climate change targets and how he feels they will help strengthen Canada’s energy industry. This topic recently came to light after the release of an IHS Energy report indicating that federal climate policies are putting oil sands producers at a disadvantage compared to their American peers and doing little to help the environment.