Plan Barely Acknowledges Oil & Gas
Dear Calgary City Council,
I’m writing in response to the City of Calgary’s $87 billion “Calgary Climate Strategy – Pathways to 2050” that was presented to the Community Development Committee to increase the pace and scale of climate action to reach the goal of net zero emissions by 2050 (in 28 years), in alignment with the climate emergency declaration.
To begin, I’d like to know how much it cost to produce the final report.
The Calgary Climate Strategy Report presented at the May 31, 2022 Community Development meeting says, “Alberta’s transition to a low carbon economy has the potential to create over 160,000 jobs in clean technology and generate over $60 million in Gross Domestic Product by 2050.”
It goes on to claim that climate action is not a cost, but rather an investment in our local economic future. If the entire province of Alberta is only going to generate $60 million in GDP, how will the City pay for this plan with a price tag of $3.1 billion per year? How will the City achieve its priority of attracting private investment if the cost is going to be more than the return?
The strategy document admits that a transition to a low-carbon economy will require significant investments; nevertheless, they say, analysis shows the benefits will outweigh the costs. It’s not clear what kind of analysis was conducted to reach this conclusion, particularly because the Report includes future requirements to conduct financial analyses to understand the cost of the proposed actions. Does this mean the cost could be even higher than $87 billion? Since governments are seldom to never accurate in their cost estimates, should citizens brace themselves?
The plan is ambitious and costly and should use (real) science-based data to support the effectiveness of the proposed strategies. Will the recommendations be successful at creating a positive impact for the least cost? Are they achievable? The Report isn’t clear.
If an energy transition is required to achieve the climate goals, why doesn’t the Report include a serious, detailed plan to work with the city’s bedrock industry – oil and gas – to help achieve its objectives? The term “oil and gas” is mentioned a mere three times in the entire Report.
Why are only renewables considered as part of the net zero strategy? Why weren’t any of the major oil and gas producers who are actively working on emissions reduction strategies included as part of the Calgary Climate Panel Participating Organizations? Seems like a missed opportunity to share knowledge.
The Climate Strategy Report stresses urgency to address climate change now in order to avoid higher costs later and references an All One Sky Foundation report when estimating that climate change will cost Calgary nearly $8 billion dollars annually by 2080 if we do nothing now. Their report is not linked. As a result, I’d like to understand how the 2080 estimate was derived.
Proponents of the plan argue that Calgarians won’t have to foot the entire bill because the cost will be covered by all levels of government and private industry. Perhaps the Committee is not aware that there’s only one taxpayer for all three levels of government. This is knowledge that should be required before someone is eligible to run for public office — some of our councillors and bureaucrats have some catching up to do.
While a debate of the Calgary Climate Strategy was supposed to happen the week of June 6, 2022, it has been pushed back to a July 5 meeting, and that has our mayor in a tizzy for some reason. Shouldn’t the deliberation of such a large sum of money be accompanied by an adequate amount of time for councillors to read the Report, think on it, and conduct whatever research is required to make a reasoned, informed decision? I guess not for our spend-happy city council.
There are reasonable environmental actions the City can take that fall within its jurisdiction, such as wastewater treatment, walkable community designs, minimizing the use of pesticides on public property, and waste management. What I’ve noticed is that the Report doesn’t talk a lot about environmental protection, but it does talk a lot about social justice. The “E” in the plan seems more focused on equity than the environment.
Thank you to Ward 6 councillor and Committee member Richard Pootmans for voting against the proposal. It takes courage to be the only one to vote against something as emotionally manipulative as addressing climate change. I’d also like to acknowledge the work of Ward 13 councillor Dan McLean; his vocal opposition has brought a lot of needed attention to the proposal.
There are many more sections of the Report that are questionable; however, I’d have to write a novel to cover them all. There is clearly an anti-oil, climate extremism agenda at Calgary City Council and it’s time for it to stop.
cc: Community Development Committee members
Mayor Jyoti Gondek Ward 2 Councillor Jennifer Wyness Ward 5 Councillor Raj Dhaliwhal Ward 6 Councillor Richard Pootmans Ward 7 Councillor Terry Wong Ward 8 Councillor Courtney Walcott Ward 9 Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra Ward 11 Councillor Kourtney Penner Ward 13 Councillor Dan McLean firstname.lastname@example.org