Trudeau faces loom­ing ‘stranded as­sets’ de­bate in con­fronting cli­mate pol­icy

Asian Journal - - NATION - By Bruce Chea­dle, The Cana­dian Press

Ot­tawa: When star NDP can­di­date Linda McQuaig mused dur­ing the open­ing days of the fed­eral elec­tion cam­paign that some of Alberta’s oil wealth would have to “stay in the ground’’ in or­der to meet Canada’s cli­mate change tar­gets, the re­mark was treated as a scan­dalous rev­e­la­tion by her po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents. Yet McQuaig, known for her some­times po­lar­iz­ing and provoca­tive views, ar­guably was sim­ply stat­ing 2015’s mid­dle-of-the-road or­tho­doxy. From the gov­er­nor of the Bank of Eng­land, to the U.S. pres­i­dent and the in­vest­ment arms of the planet’s big­gest banks, 2015 was the year that “stranded as­sets’’ stopped be­ing some myth­i­cal bed­time story told by tree hug­gers to spook oil work­ers and landed in the main­stream. Mark Car­ney, the Cana­dian head of the Bank of Eng­land, at­tracted in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion with a Sept. 29 speech at ven­er­a­ble Lloyd’s of Lon­don cau­tion­ing against the grave risks to the fi­nan­cial sys­tem posed by a chang­ing cli­mate. Car­ney cited es­ti­mates by the In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change that only be­tween a fifth and a third of proven oil re­serves can be burned if hu­man­ity is to avoid cat­a­strophic cli­mate im­pacts. “If that es­ti­mate is even ap­proxi- mately cor­rect it would ren­der the vast ma­jor­ity of re­serves ‘stranded’, oil, gas and coal that will be lit­er­ally un­burn­able with­out ex­pen­sive car­bon cap­ture tech­nol­ogy, which it­self al­ters fos­sil fuel eco­nomics,’’ said the cen­tral bank gov­er­nor. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, making the case for his re­jec­tion of the Key­stone XL pipe­line barely a month later, made much the same point. “Ul­ti­mately, if we’re go­ing to pre­vent large parts of this Earth from be­com­ing not only in­hos­pitable but un­in­hab­it­able in our life­times, we’re go­ing to have to keep some fos­sil fu­els in the ground rather than burn them and release more dan­ger­ous pol­lu­tion into the sky,’’ he said. In­vest­ment houses are also is­su­ing cau­tions. Last April, HSBC Global Re­search re­ported that: “Fos­sil fuel com­pa­nies, or some of their as­sets, may be­come non-vi­able or ‘un­burn­able,’’’ un­der con­di­tions of in­creased cli­mate reg­u­la­tion and de­pressed prices.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.