A Deep Recession Without A Recovery
Last night saw the long-anticipated Alberta Election 2023 debate between NDP leader Rachel Notley and UCP leader Danielle Smith.
While the whole thing was interesting (and you can watch a replay here), one moment that particularly stood out to us was an exchange about capping oil and gas emissions.
For those who haven’t followed this issue closely, it all starts with Ottawa (as always!).
Back in November, at the COP27 United Nations climate conference in Egypt, Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault, committed to capping oil and natural gas emissions in Canada by the end of 2023, and working to reduce them even further after that.
Now, as we've discussed before, the federal government has gone to particular pains to explain that their plan is *just* an emissions cap and IN NO WAY IS IT a production cap.
But, as the Alberta government and Premier Danielle Smith pointed out at the time - and last night in the debate - without sufficient technology or sufficient time to develop new technology, the emissions cap being touted by the federal Liberals would also be a de facto production cap.
Rachel Notley, incidentally, agreed with Justin Trudeau that an emissions cap is needed, and repeated the claim that an emissions cap is not a production cap.
But, here's the problem...
Anyone who has been around politics in this province for any amount of time has seen enough goalposts moved to recognize another one shifting when they see it.
And the goalposts are shifting fast on this issue.
Having called for precisely this type of emissions cap for years and years, you would think that Rachel Notley and Justin Trudeau's allies in the eco-activist industry would be ecstatic about the announcement of an emissions cap, right?
Well, they aren’t.
They are far, far, far from ecstatic.
In fact, when Guilbeault announced that their long-sought-after policy was to be implemented, they actually attacked it!
That's because now, instead of advocating for an emissions cap, they think their own idea is woefully inadequate.
They now want, you guessed it, a cap on production!
They don't actually care about the level of carbon emissions.
They don't actually care whether emissions go down.
They want the amount of oil and gas produced to go down.
In fact, they want it phased out altogether.
This, fellow Albertans, is what we are up against.
The radical eco-activist environmental movement doesn't want Alberta's oil and gas industry to be more environmentally friendly; they want Alberta's oil and gas industry to die.
So, what would that look like?
What would Alberta look like if the eco-activists got their way and phased out oil and gas?
What would this idea cost Albertans if our next provincial government actually helps Ottawa implement it, instead of fighting back?
Well, a new report, published last week by Public Policy Forum, investigates two potential ways that Canada could achieve net zero by 2050.
One, by limiting emissions and raising carbon tax prices to astronomically high levels that make current charges look like pocket change.
And another, where governments literally just ban most oil and gas production and usage.
The report calculated that, in the first scenario, Alberta's GDP is $60 billion worse off than it would be compared to existing policies.
(Note, that's not compared to having no climate policies, that's just compared to current climate policies!)
To be clear, that $60 billion is more than $13,000 per Albertan, and that's not the TOTAL cost, that's the ANNUAL cost to the economy of this policy.
In the second scenario, where oil and gas is banned, the impact is doubled.
Alberta's GDP would be $120 billion worse off than compared with current policy.
That's a cost to our economy of more than $26,000 per Albertan PER YEAR!
This second scenario is so devastating, it's hard to explain.
Effectively, Alberta would experience no economic growth for 30 years.
As the report says:
“This essentially amounts to a deep recession without a recovery ever materializing.”
A 30-year recession - caused by an oil and gas production cap.
And you think the 2015-2019 downturn was bad!
Clearly, this is not something that Albertans can afford.
But, having shifted the goalposts countless times already, the federal government's environmental policies are now as close to a ban on oil and gas as you can get, without actually banning it.
One more shift, one more moving goalpost, and it will be an outright ban.
The environmental groups are pushing for that last final shift.
The federal NDP are calling for it.
Will the next Alberta government fight it, or implement it?
That is the question.
We think that Alberta needs to defend our energy industry.
And we need your help to do it.
If you’re in a position to do so, please consider making a donation to help support our research and advocacy efforts:
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions about this or any other issue.
And thanks again to you all for everything you've done to advance our cause so far.
The Free Alberta Strategy Team