On Alberta’s Future

What I think is astounding about Alberta Politics comes down to one simple fact: most Automobile manufacturers don’t think that they will be producing gas powered cars in 30 years. Recently, the CEO of the Ford Motor Company, Mark Fields, said in a statement that “Our investments and expanding lineup reflect our view that global offerings of electrified vehicles will exceed gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 15 years”.

 

This shouldn’t be a shock. Bloomberg has already noted that by 2022, electric cars will likely cost the same as their gas counterparts. Toyota has said that they will not make gas powered cars by 2050 and their competitors including Nissan and Volkswagen have noted similar timelines. Sometimes, 2040 is the date, other times it is 2060. However, the trend is clear.

 

Yet, this is only the beginning. In October 2016, Forbes.com ran an article called “Germany’s Bundesrat Resolves End of Internal Combustion Engine”. It might seem impossible but the article detailed the consequences of a non-partisan resolution which called for the elimination of the internal combustion engine in or around 2030. The article noted that while this is just a German regulation; in the past, German regulations have shaped EU and UNECE regulations. Coupled with the German government’s partnership with BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen to launch an incentive program to boost sales of electric vehicles and hybrids; and one can see that Germany could keep to their promise of eliminating gas burning cars by 2030.

 

Additionally, the Germans are not alone. Their 13 year time table simply mimics Norway and the Netherlands aim to accomplish the same goal by 2025. While by 2050, this trend will expand to the United Kingdom, Quebec, California and 7 other American States.

 

These moves are possible because other countries and companies have been moving in this direction for decades. For example, for more than a decade, the Netherlands and Denmark have been trying to ensure that all cars are wind powered. Or to be more clear, that all cars in the respective countries were electric powered and the grid which powered them was powered by wind turbines. Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Shell has just announced that they will be adding electric vehicle charging stations to all of their European gasoline stations.

 

So to recap, most Car Companies have announced that in a generation they will likely not be making any gas powered cars and many other jurisdictions are backing this change up by codifying that change. In a decade, as these new technologies will be hitting the market, we know that there will be a significant drop in the amount of oil used. We know this because there is evidence. In the US for example, the

US Energy Information Administration (EIA) says that “in 2015, nearly three-fourths of total U.S. petroleum consumption was in the transportation sector”. If the US EIA is to be believed, it is not unreasonable to say that US consumption of Oil could be significantly cut. This is nothing to say of what will happen in Europe, Canada, Japan and Australia. With just over 20% of the world’s population and a significantly larger size of the Oil Market, a significant drop in Oil Usage would likely harm our province. Consequently, it is astounding to me that Jason Kenney and Rachel Notley have not said anything.

 

This is even as the biggest users of Oil and Gas are turning away from fossil fuels. Total SA and StatOil have seen the writing on the wall. Total SA is France’s largest Oil company. In May 2016, they diversified themselves by buying one of the largest battery manufacturer’s in the world, Saft Batteries, for a billion dollars.

 

While, Norway’s StatOil, an International Energy Company and the world’s largest offshore operator, has noted that it is in transition. StatOil has exceeded all of their own carbon reduction goals and continue to be a world leading low cost Oil and Gas Provider. However, they haven’t stopped there. For, StatOil is now transitioning into becoming a leading off Shore Wind Power Provider.

 

I am astounded that the actions of Total SA, StatOil, Ford, Nissan and Toyota are not reflected in the actions of Jason Kenney and Rachel Notley. Alberta’s Politics needs to change because change is at our doorstep.

 

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