Climate strikers naive but have right to protest: energy leaders

Leaders at Banff business forum say protesters’ demands are unrealistic, but intentions are noble

Young people gather at a climate change protest in Toronto on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Oil and gas industry insiders say demands by organizers of Friday’s Global Climate Strike to transition swiftly away from fossil fuels to 100 per cent renewable energy are naive and unrealistic.

But the leaders reached on the sidelines of the Global Business Forum in Banff on Friday say they support the right of participants to draw attention to the issue and applaud their emotional commitment.

“The strikes in some ways raise the emotional urgency of the whole process,” said Hal Kvisle, chairman of ARC Resources Ltd. and former CEO of pipeline builder TransCanada Corp., now called TC Energy Corp.

“The strikes themselves are not offering any answers. The strikes are not addressing the question of how we reduce carbon demand.”

He said he doesn’t mind students missing school to take part in the protests, but he would not support his employees missing scheduled work for that reason.

Activists who want to stop new pipelines aren’t considering the negative impact on Indigenous communities who are counting on oil and gas development to improve their lives, said Harrie Vredenburg, an executive board member for Project Reconciliation, an Indigenous consortium considering making a bid to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline from the federal government.

“Another issue (other than climate change) Canada needs to address is its relationship with its Indigenous people that has gone awry over the last 150 years that needs to be corrected,” said Vredenburg, who is also a professor at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, in an interview at the business forum.

“And a way to do that is majority ownership of the Trans Mountain pipeline with the highest possible environmental standards.”

Young people taking part in the climate change strike are being manipulated and misled by radical environmentalists, said Earl Hickok, chairman and founder of Advantage Energy Services Ltd.

“Generally, emotionally, they want to make a change and I think that’s a positive thing,” he said.

“Now, do I believe they are right and we should strike and stop the world and stop our economy and stop our way of life? No, I don’t. But I think their intentions are good.”

READ MORE: Teens gather en masse across Canada to demand drastic climate action

Gary Mar, CEO of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada and a former Alberta Progressive Conservative environment minister, said some of his three grown children have taken part in environmental protests before and he supports their right to do so.

However, he said it’s unrealistic for the climate change strikers to demand the immediate end of oil and gas production.

“We’re not opposed to the environment,” Mar said of the energy industry.

“In fact, I would argue the environmental characteristics of the energy we develop in Canada are part of the brand of Canadian energy, that we are responsible about it, that we do support governments in their efforts to make this a cleaner environment and, someday, we will transition to different forms of energy. But that’s not going to happen in the next five or 10 or 15 years.”

Dan Healing, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Plans in place for a different kind of graduation this year at Wm E. Hay Stettler Secondary Campus

“They deserve to be celebrated for this milestone in their education.”

Every Albertan eligible for COVID-19 testing

22 new cases confirmed on Friday

Playground facilities within County of Stettler borders begin re-opening May 29th

Responsibility for sanitization and hygiene remains with the users of the equipment

Fast-food restaurants serving up free non-medical masks

Free protection will come in packages of four

Big Valley youth takes top prize in the 4-H Project Steer Challenge

Proceeds from the sale of the calves goes back to the kids who raised them for the last few months

VIDEO: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Police need more than an unverified tip to avoid drug-case entrapment: top court

Police need more than an unverified tip to avoid drug-case entrapment: top court

N.S. police received warnings in 2011 about man who would become mass killer

N.S. police received warnings in 2011 about man who would become mass killer

Trudeau acknowledges ‘anti-black racism’ in U.S., with ‘work to do in Canada’

Trudeau acknowledges ‘anti-black racism’ in U.S., with ‘work to do in Canada’

Want a mask with your Big Mac? Alberta handing out masks at drive-thrus

Want a mask with your Big Mac? Alberta handing out masks at drive-thrus

Senate joins House of Commons in extending suspension until mid-June

Senate joins House of Commons in extending suspension until mid-June

Another $650M in COVID-19 aid bound for Indigenous communities, Miller says

Another $650M in COVID-19 aid bound for Indigenous communities, Miller says

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Canada exploring ways to reunite families divided by COVID-19 border closure

Canada exploring ways to reunite families divided by COVID-19 border closure

Most Read