Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

In a courtroom in British Columbia on Monday, Indigenous communities were arguing the federal government overstepped in approving the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, and that it has to be stopped over concerns about its effect on the environment.

One province over, lawyers were in a courtroom in Edmonton, arguing the federal government barged into Alberta’s provincial jurisdiction in imposing a carbon tax and want it stopped over concerns about its effect on the economy.

And in a boardroom in Toronto, executives from some of Canada’s biggest oil companies were sitting across the table from environmental leaders, academics, Indigenous leaders and government officials, hoping to find a way to bridge the Grand Canyon-sized divide.

Story continues below advertisement

“I think this is particularly about the future of Canada’s oil and gas sector in a low carbon world,” said Stewart Elgie, director of the Environment Institute at the University of Ottawa.

“If we get this wrong it could rip our nation apart. If we get it right it could be nation-building.”

Mr. Elgie was among the participants Monday at the inaugural meeting of the Energy Future Forum, a new project conceived by the Public Policy Forum to find solutions for climate change in Canada. He said he found it fitting that the meeting was happening at the same time as the two court cases.

Among the 30 people seated with him were executives from Suncor Energy, Imperial Oil and Shell Canada Ltd., as well as representatives from the World Wildlife Federation, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, and the federal and Alberta governments. Two of Canada’s big banks, RBC and CIBC, were represented, as was the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.

Edward Greenspon, president of the Public Policy Forum, said the recent federal election drove home how much Canadians want to see action to address climate change. But it also drove home how worried those in the resource sectors are about their jobs.

International investors are increasingly reluctant to invest in companies that don’t have climate-change adaptation plans.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s climate and economic platforms are based on a notion that this country can reduce greenhouse-gas emissions while building pipelines and extracting more oil, particularly if technology is made available that can reduce the emissions coming from both producing and burning fossil fuels.

Story continues below advertisement

“I don’t think governments can do this alone,” Mr. Greenspon said. “It requires a full-court press.”

Most energy forecasts show oil and gas as part of the world’s energy mix for at least another two or three decades, so Mr. Greenspon said finding ways to reduce the emissions from those is a critical piece of the puzzle. Mr. Elgie agrees, saying it is not realistic to expect us to be off oil tomorrow.

Suncor Energy chief executive officer Mark Little said the forum is looking to get beyond the rhetoric and the polarized voices in the debate, and find consensus in the middle. Suncor itself has invested in a number of things to reduce its own carbon footprint, setting a target to cut the emissions produced per barrel of oil by 30 per cent by 2030, replacing coal-fired power generators with natural-gas versions and building a wind farm in Alberta.

The forum intends to meet as a whole at least three times a year for the next few years, with the expectation of smaller, more frequent meetings with specific industries or on particular issues as well.

Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies