A recent survey by Janet Brown Opinion Research, commissioned by the Pembina Institute, showed some encouraging attitudes of Albertans toward climate change. For example, two-thirds of those surveyed support the goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Albertans are not impressed by their government’s fight-back strategy in defending Alberta’s interests. About two-thirds believe the government has not been effective in enhancing the reputation of the oil and gas industry. Twice as many believe Alberta needs to work co-operatively with environmental advocates to improve its environmental performance as believe it needs to defend itself by fighting back against criticisms of the industry.
All this is promising, however there’s a large “but.” Albertans do not see the solution to greenhouse gas emissions as phasing out the oil industry. Only 16 percent support that approach. Over 80 percent believe new technologies will allow the industry to help Canada reach the net-zero goal. This stems largely from their view that Alberta’s oil and gas industry is a world leader in emissions reduction. And it may well be, but only at the production end. Not that reducing the emissions created when the product is produced doesn’t help—every little bit helps—but the emissions created when the product is burned are the ones that really count.
So the result is a mixed bag. Albertans recognize the need to seriously reduce emissions, but are unrealistic in their belief in how that is to be achieved.