Balancing energy, the environment and the economy is critical. Yet current climate policies and plans – including Canada’s – are designed to phase out fossil fuel production entirely as rapidly as possible, largely ignoring the several decades-long transition required to develop reliable alternative energy systems.
To be effective, climate plans need to broaden their focus from primarily just energy sources/mix to including a focus on energy availability/reliability and energy affordability. Otherwise, they will not secure ongoing public, investor and political support.
Simply put, hydrocarbons – oil and natural gas – are required if we are to effect an orderly transition to low-carbon, net-zero emissions energy systems.
Hydrocarbons are the only energy option given that renewables, hydropower, large-scale electrification and hydrogen cannot yet meet immediate high-temperature thermal and power generation needs. Longer-term, small modular reactors and nuclear fusion offer considerable promise.