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Oil sands energy: Time for bold action

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Canada's Oil Sands contain one of the largest stores of fossil fuel energy in the world.

They are located in a stable democracy and should be an attractive global energy source.

And, they could be, if key stakeholders, especially industry and governments, would agree on bold action to dramatically reduce the carbon and climate impact of developing them.

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Published in: Business
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Oil sands energy: Time for bold action

  1. 1. Helping business to serve shareholders AND society SIMULTANEOUSLY -by Wayne Dunn Oil Sands Energy: Time for Bold Action www.csrtraininginstitute.com/knowledge-centre
  2. 2. Oil Sands Energy: Time for Bold Action Why not? It is time to stop tinkering at the margins and set bold goals to get Canadian Oil Sands energy to market AND make it palatable in our increasingly carbon and climate focused world. Canadian Oil Sands are one of the world’s largest petroleum reserves, and the only major reserve located in a politically stable region. A major investment in improving the carbon/climate impact would pay dividends to Alberta, Canada and the world for decades. We’ve seen that no matter how loud governments cheer for the project, or how friendly they make environmental rules, the pipelines just don’t seem to get approved. Climate change and carbon are increasingly important to society. Dirty energy, as the oil sands have been branded, can expect increasing opposition and challenges at every step, from inside Canada and globally This won’t change anytime soon. Unless the oil sands industry embraces carbon and climate issues and takes them head on. And, with the economic malaise Canada and Alberta is in, and provincial and federal governments poised to make strategic interventions, this is a perfect time. It is time for industry and both levels of government to come together and accept and finance the challenge of making oil sands energy acceptable to a carbon conscious public. A good starting point is to determine the carbon, GHG and climate impact intensity of the industry today. There seems to be a lot of confusion and misinformation around this issue so let’s clear it up. Whatever the number is, let’s know it and let’s accept that it has to improve. A lot. A real, real lot. A 50% reduction in carbon intensity and climate impact?
  3. 3. How can it be improved? I don’t know, but I know it can’t be improved and won’t be improved unless industry and government come together, commit to improving it and invest heavily to achieve that commitment. What would happen if they agreed to cut the carbon, GHG and climate impact intensity of oil sands industry by 50% in 5 years? t would be a huge step forward in gaining (or regaining) a global social license for the industry. Canadian scientists, engineers, universities and research facilities would be resourced and motivated to develop new technology and processes that would not only apply to the oil sands but would have impact across other industries and sectors struggling to reduce their impact. New technology and solutions would be developed by Canadians and could be applied in other industries and other sectors, supporting Canadian business and carbon management. Canada would continue moving away from its former status as a climate change laggard. What would it cost to cut impacts by 50%? I don’t know. Billions I guess. But, what is the alternative. The public and markets won’t get less interested in the environmental impact. Pipeline permits won’t magically appear. I suspect that if Industry and government doesn’t take this issue head on with a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) that they all embrace, we will see much of the energy from oil sands remain untouched, costing the provincial and national economy far more than it would cost to take the challenge head on. So, let’s just do it. Embrace a 50% reduction in the climate impact of the oil sands industry by 2022 Oil Sands Energy: Time for Bold Action
  4. 4. Should Business Serve Helping business to serve society and shareholders, SIMULTANEOUSLY. Should Business Serve WAYNE DUNN, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER SHAREHOLDERS? SOCIETY? IT SHOULD SERVE BOTH. Wayne Dunn is President & Founder of the CSR Training Institute and Professor of Practice in CSR at McGill. He’s a Stanford Sloan Fellow with a M.Sc. in Management from Stanford Business School. He is a veteran of 20+ years of award winning global CSR and sustainability work spanning the globe and covering many industries and sectors including extensive work with Indigenous Peoples in Canada and globally. His work has won major international awards and has been used extensively as ‘best-practice’ by industry and academia. He’s also worked oil rigs, prospecting, diamond drilling, logging, commercial fishing, heavy equipment operator, truck driver and underwater logging, done a couple of start-ups and too many other things to mention. Wayne’s career includes big successes, and spectacular failures. He hopes he’s learned equally from both. www.csrtraininginstitute.com

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