Trudeau says Canada's oil sands must be phased out

January 14, 2017
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to meet requirements of the Paris Agreement on climate change, which Canada has ratified

Canada must "phase out" Alberta's oil sands and end the country's dependence on hydrocarbons, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

"We can't shut down the oil sands tomorrow. We need to phase them out," he said. "We need to manage the transition off our dependence on fossil fuels."

He was responding to a question at a town hall event about his decision in late November to authorize an increase in the capacity of two in the country's west.

Upgrading them will increase Canada's export capacity by nearly a million barrels a day.

"You can't make a choice between what's good for the environment and what's good for the economy," he said about reconciling the fight against climate change with economic growth.

Canada is the world's sixth-largest oil producer.

However, Trudeau is committed to reducing to meet the requirements of the United Nations Paris Agreement on , which Canada has ratified.

The last year announced a national carbon tax effective in 2018.

It was supported by the province of Alberta, where the country's petroleum industry is concentrated.

But the prime minister's latest remarks on oil sands have prompted a furious response from the conservative opposition.

"If Mr Trudeau wants to shut down Alberta's oil sands, and my hometown, let him be warned: He'll have to go through me and four million Albertans first," said Brian Jean, leader of Canada's hardline conservative Wildrose Party, who formerly represented Fort McMurray, Alberta's oil capital, in Parliament.

Environmental activists are highly critical of projects involving oil sands because of their economic and environmental costs. Oil locked in the subsoil of the boreal forest must be extracted by a long, polluting and energy-intensive process.

The oil is profitable only when global prices are high. Two major oil companies, Shell and Statoil, pulled out of the Canadian late last year.

Explore further: Statoil exits oil sands projects in Canada

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Oceans of garbage prompt war on plastics

December 15, 2018

Faced with images of turtles smothered by plastic bags, beaches carpeted with garbage and islands of trash floating in the oceans, environmentalists say the world is waking up to the need to tackle plastic pollution at the ...

A damming trend

December 14, 2018

Hundreds of dams are being proposed for Mekong River basin in Southeast Asia. The negative social and environmental consequences—affecting everything from food security to the environment—greatly outweigh the positive ...

Data from Kilauea suggests the eruption was unprecedented

December 14, 2018

A very large team of researchers from multiple institutions in the U.S. has concluded that the Kilauea volcanic eruption that occurred over this past summer represented an unprecedented volcanic event. In their paper published ...

The long dry: global water supplies are shrinking

December 13, 2018

A global study has found a paradox: our water supplies are shrinking at the same time as climate change is generating more intense rain. And the culprit is the drying of soils, say researchers, pointing to a world where drought-like ...

Death near the shoreline, not life on land

December 13, 2018

Our understanding of when the very first animals started living on land is helped by identifying trace fossils—the tracks and trails left by ancient animals—in sedimentary rocks that were deposited on the continents.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.