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A book of condolence for former Alberta premier Jim Prentice is on display at the MacDougal Centre in Calgary, on Oct. 17, 2016.Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

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Readers respond: Jim Prentice tried to warn Alberta. Now it’s finally time to look in the mirror

For naysayers: There is a solar rush happening in Alberta. Southern Alberta has an average of more than 300 days of sunny skies annually. Throw in some large-scale battery storage and you have clean, reliable, renewable, cheap energy. What’s not to love about this?

Just do it, Alberta! We all want you to succeed! –Cynical in Toronto

Right on! Alberta has too often forgotten its past as a marginal rural area and failed to understand its destiny as an energy powerhouse, as opposed to strictly an oil powerhouse. There are plenty of smart people at Alberta’s great universities who could help guide the way, while a significant fraction of oil profit could be used to pave the way to a successful transition. In essence this was Rachel Notley and Justin Trudeau’s deal. –davidb1948

Re: "Mr. Kenney launched his campaign to unite Alberta’s right driving a big blue pickup truck around the province, visiting hard-luck oil and gas towns and posturing in front of coal-fired power plants."

He should “posture” in front of the 170,000 abandoned wells that exist in Alberta and, Jim Prentice-like, be honest and tell Alberta/Canada/the world what he’s going to do to clean that mess up. And how he (or the oil industry – doesn’t matter to me) is going to pay for it.

The irony here is that even the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum is now solar-powered. –just as good as you

‘Protesters advocating against the Coastal GasLink pipeline seem to have no understanding of the issues.’ Readers react as one blockade comes down, plus other letters to the editor

‘I would like to see Alberta become an independent nation state.’ Readers react to Jason Kenney, Teck Frontier and Albertan alienation, plus other letters to the editor

‘Almost all of us are implicated in the harms of the carbon economy.’ Readers debate pipelines, protests and the environment, plus other letters to the editor

The Suncor oil sands facility seen from a helicopter near Fort McMurray, Alta., on July 10, 2012.Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

Alberta has a good education system, good universities and a can-do attitude. Getting over the fact that we are witnessing the end of the age of oil is tough, particularly when the cupboard is almost bare. But this country was not built by wimps. –bjMarsden

I too often think of Jim Prentice and am saddened by his absence. We love politicians who tell us what we want to hear, which isn’t always the truth, and vilify those who tell it like it is. I have lived in Alberta for 50 years, been through lots of ups and downs, seen our “rainy day” heritage fund frittered away by politician after politician. We rode the gravy train and through willful blindness (yes, Jim) thought it would last forever. We have a premier who can’t stop looking in the rearview mirror and a prime minister without the imagination or the resolve to begin implementing transitory measures. Of course Teck was going to be a no! But Teck’s departure should be a huge wakeup call federally and provincially. Stop the blame game! –Ellevin

Fifteen years before Jim Prentice, Peter Lougheed told Albertans to pump the brakes on oil-sands development, to avoid the very crisis Alberta faces today and going forward.

But easy money is hard to resist. –the.maven

It’s always a good idea to look at yourself in the mirror from time to time. And just like any other province, Alberta should look itself in the mirror for what it did or didn’t do. But Canada, too, should look itself in the mirror for what it’s done. Alberta didn’t do these things to itself. The rest of Canada did.

Ottawa nixed the Northern Gateway pipeline; Quebec nixed the Energy East pipeline; Ottawa and First Nations caused Kinder Morgan to abandon the Trans Mountain pipeline; British Columbia, Ottawa and a few B.C. First Nations litigated, regulated and consulted and consulted some more, thus delaying TMX and ballooning its cost; Teck Frontier was put through a near-decade-long assessment process; B.C. banned tanker traffic; Ottawa passed Bill 69, making environmental assessment nearly impossible to pass without huge costs and time delays.

Does anyone think Quebec will look itself in the mirror for taking roughly $130-billion in net fiscal transfers generated by Alberta since 2010 and not reciprocating? –Dannyboy789

A pumpjack works at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., on Oct. 29, 2016.Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

An excellent piece. There is only one caveat to consider. The oil industry can’t actually “take the carbon out of the barrel.” Marginal per-barrel emissions reductions are possible, but beyond modest improvement, there is no realistic chance the industry can ever be part of the solution to climate change. Transformative technologies which could cut upstream emissions to zero would significantly increase unit costs for an already struggling cost structure – it would not be profitable for oil companies to adopt this technology.

But more importantly, this industry is in the business of extracting buried carbon to be burned and dumped into the atmosphere. Emissions from burning oil (which is the fate of the majority extracted) can’t be reduced. Oil, gas, and coal production inevitably must decline to zero over the coming decades. Alberta and its workforce require and deserve resources, attention and innovation in support of making this unprecedented transition happen. –Environmental Defence

The Stone Age did not end because they ran out of stones. And we have reached peak oil not because of a lack of supply or even climate concerns, though great emphasis is placed on this latter point. No, most fossil fuels will continue to be replaced as alternative “green” methods of producing energy become more cost effective and come online.

Much greater emphasis should be placed on the production of hydrogen gas from the oil sands and regular wells. Cost effective and clean, hydrogen stands a strong chance of being a green energy of choice. If Alberta could capitalize on this early, and market a hydrogen-gas pipeline, some glory days might return. But this seems unlikely with the current premier’s narrow-minded, biased perspectives on energy. –benignlyindifferent

Nor did they throw away the stones before they had a viable replacement. Making everything electric using fossil fuels is a foolish stopgap measure that theoretically buys a short time span, which isn’t enough to meet UN targets. Hydrogen is great and abundant, but you need a whack of energy to condense it into a fuel.

Alberta must diversify its economy, so help out instead of throwing rocks. –JohnMarks

A pumpjack works at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., on Oct. 29, 2016.Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

What a breath of fresh prairie air. Let’s stop being in denial regarding climate-change problems, and let’s use the incredible skills base in Alberta to become the leading edge of world change to renewables. –Raoul Peter Boire

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