Glasgow, Scotland — The National Farmers Union (NFU) condemns the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) press release of November 9 calling “on COP 26 delegates to recognize the necessary role of the natural gas and oil Industry in meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement.”
Glenn Wright, a member of the NFU’s COP26 contingent in Glasgow and a farmer from Saskatchewan, responded saying that “It is both false and manipulative to suggest that the path to mitigate climate change is to increase oil and gas extraction. At a time when scientific consensus clearly shows that we must decarbonize our economies and accelerate the transition to clean energy, the statement from CAPP calling for increased oil and gas development is shameful.”
Climate change is predominantly caused by the burning of fossil fuels. Coal, oil, and natural gas are responsible for more than 75 percent of the additional manmade greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Expanding oil and gas production will not decarbonize our economy nor the economies of our trading partners. The International Energy Agency’s research found that limiting warming to 1.5°C requires significant cuts to all fossil fuel production, including both oil and gas.
At COP26, two important initiatives were launched: The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance. The NFU applauds these initiatives because only through reductions of the use of coal, oil, and gas can we prevent dangerous global warming.
Farmers and Indigenous People are seeing the effects of the climate crisis on our farms and lands and know the policy and science needed to address the climate crisis in agriculture. We understand that agriculture currently relies on inputs derived from fossil fuels like fertilizer and diesel fuel. But the consistent message coming from COP26 is that all sectors need to accelerate the transition to clean energy and make ambitious efforts to decarbonize now. We know that agriculture needs to be a part of the transformation to a clean energy future.
Farmers are on the front lines of the climate crisis and need to take action alongside all sectors to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Agricultural practices can make large and positive contributions to easing the climate crisis. For more information on a climate friendly agricultural sector see the NFU report: Tackling the Farm Crisis and Climate Crisis.
As reported by Global Witness, over 500 oil and gas lobbyists from Canada and around the world are attending COP26. These oil and gas lobbyists and press releases such as the latest one from CAPP advance false solutions that actually preserve the status quo and thereby undermine the goal of decarbonization. Energy companies continue to focus investment on expanding fossil fuel development much more so than investing in clean energy. This needs to change. Energy companies have a role to play in decarbonization. That role is to expand clean, renewable energy, not oil and gas.
The NFU calls on all governments to end fossil fuel subsidies and focus on clean energy to align public finance with their pledges to tackle the climate crisis. Furthermore, shifting subsidies to clean energy development would encourage energy companies to invest in the energy future necessary to tackle the climate crisis. Canada should consider becoming a signatory to the fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty and join the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance. The bottom line: Canada cannot be a climate leader while financing the expansion of fossil fuel projects.