Never let a crisis go to waste: Activists and COVID-19

Blog post

For the vast majority of the world, the COVID-19 global pandemic has been an unprecedented and often distressing experience. Planes have stopped flying, cars have stopped driving, and businesses across North America have been forced to close as stay-at-home orders were implemented to combat the spread. The sacrifices made to fight the virus have caused hardship for many. Over 3 million Canadians have lost their jobs and millions more are working reduced hours. The pandemic and resulting economic fallout has caused historic shocks in oil markets, with global demand for oil dropping nearly 35 million barrels per day and prices going negative for the first time in history.

The economic devastation is unparalleled.

Most Canadians have put their personal agendas aside and pulled together to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. But there is a certain section of society that sees a ‘once-in-generation opportunity’ to exploit this crisis to further their own ambitions. Activists and anti-resource groups have wasted little time exploiting the crisis facing Canada’s oil and natural gas industry.  Prominent politicians are making absurd declarations like ‘oil is dead’ and leading environmental organizations have launched multiple campaigns pressuring the government to withhold support to Canada’s oil and natural gas industry – an industry that employs over 500,000 Canadians across the country, is responsible for a tenth of Canada’s GDP, and is the largest employer of Indigenous people in the country.


The ‘once-in-a-generation opportunity’ put forward by these anti-everything organizations will only result in more lost jobs and more economic hardship. Canadian natural resources are our country’s natural advantage and with the right policies and supports, our natural resource industry can continue to innovate and create jobs to lead Canadian economic recovery.

Innovation and continuous improvement are hallmarks of Canada’s oil and natural gas industry. Innovations in liquefied natural gas (LNG) development means that Canadian LNG will be among the cleanest in the world. Innovations in Canada’s oil sands development have resulted in a 32 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions intensity since 1990. At Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), the US$20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE challenges the world to re-imagine what we can do with CO2 emissions by incentivizing and accelerating the development of technologies that convert CO2 into valuable products. These technologies have the potential to transform how the world approaches CO2 mitigation, and reduce the cost of managing CO2. Oil and natural gas companies are constantly improving when it comes to reducing  CO2 emissions, and strive for continued improvement.

Canada’s energy industry is prepared to play a leading role in our economic recovery. Investments in industry now will help support the jobs of tomorrow and the innovations of the future.

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