An open letter to Jeff Bezos of Amazon: Opportunities for your $10 billion climate change fund to collaborate with Canadian energy companies
410 Terry Ave. N
Seattle, WA 98109
Attention: Jeff Bezos
Dear Mr. Bezos,
The creation of the ten billion dollar Bezos Earth Fund presents an opportunity to collaborate with existing clean tech companies and technologies in Canada’s energy sector to meaningfully impact environmental issues. I’m sure I’m one of thousands (millions?) of people that have an opinion on how the funds should be used, but hear me out, please.
I’m a Canadian who lives in the innovative, entrepreneurial province of Alberta, and I work in the oil and gas sector. Therefore, I hope you’ll consider granting some of this money to clean energy initiatives in Canada because we’re already working on solutions that have a real chance of making a tangible impact on our global environment.
We’re doing some amazing work up here. Did you know that in 2019 Calgary, Alberta ranked in the top 15 in the world for clean technology ecosystems by San Francisco-based Startup Genome? Two thirds of these clean tech companies identify the oil and gas and mining sectors as their primary customer. With about 80 percent of the world’s energy coming from fossil fuels, let’s face it, we still need them to run our modern economy. Even though there has been tremendous investment in renewables, and they’ve gained traction as a source of energy as a result, we still need fossil fuels for the foreseeable future.
Nothing has highlighted this more than the COVID-19 crisis. It reinforces the importance of the oil and gas sector’s ability to provide reliable, affordable energy to make the products we need to keep people alive, to transport those products, and to power them as required. If we eliminate all fossil fuel products imminently without an equivalent replacement, the impact will be more devastating than the virus.
Therefore, doesn’t it make sense to invest some of the funds into clean tech that helps the energy sector, particularly the sector in Alberta that is already a world leader in how it conducts its operations? If you invest in Alberta’s energy sector, the multinationals that also invest in Canada’s oil and gas industry may take those lessons and apply them to their operations around the world, resulting in reduced emissions globally. Your reach could be astonishing!
Please don’t believe the messaging you hear about Alberta’s oil and gas sector. We aren’t out to destroy the planet. Quite the opposite. We’ve been working in the clean tech space for at least 20 years. We’ve invested billions into technology that helps the planet. In addition to the Alberta Clean Technology Industry Alliance (ACTia), we have organizations such as the industry-lead Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN) whose vision is to ensure “Canada is the Global Leader in Producing Clean Hydrocarbon Energy from Source to End Use.”
Here are a few examples of Alberta-based clean tech companies and their impressive accomplishments:
· Carbon Upcycling Technologies’ technology absorbs CO2 and turns it into inorganic solids that can be used in a variety of applications.
· Calgary-based micro-CO2 capture and utilization company CleanO2 turns CO2 into usable products such as soap.
· Eight of Canada’s 18 carbon capture, utilization and sequestration (CCUS) startups have roots in Alberta, including Carbon Engineering, Quantiam Technologies, HTC Systems, CTCNT and Industrial Climate Solutions.
· Upstream methane solution provider Questor Technology is able to generate electricity from waste heat and is moving to become a clean tech-focused emissions data company. In 2019 they placed on The Globe and Mail’s Canada’s 500 Top Growing Companies.
· Geothermal technology developers Eavor Technologies, Borealis Geopower, DEEP Corporation, and Terrapin Geothermics each achieved significant commercial milestones in 2018-2019 leveraging knowledge gained via Alberta’s oil and gas sector.
This chart is from ACTia’s Alberta Clean Technology Sector 2019 Report
Used wisely, the Bezos Earth Fund could be an amazingly positive global initiative. Alternatively, if used for political manipulation purposes by funding anti-development activists, this money could have catastrophic consequences for the planet and humankind.
I hope you will seriously consider Alberta, Canada when deciding which initiatives to invest portions of the Fund. Together, we can make meaningful, impactful global change.