Braid: In public shift, Kenney says Alberta has to go green over time

Suddenly, Premier Jason Kenney is talking publicly about the “energy transition.”

This is new. And it’s significant.

“Over the next decades as we go through the energy transition, we all know that there will be a continued demand for crude,” he told a panel at Washington’s Wilson Center last Friday.

Kenney added: “It is preferable that the last barrel in that transition period comes from a stable, reliable liberal democracy with among the highest environmental, human-rights and labour standards on earth.”

Energy transition. Last barrel. Transition period. Six not-so-little words we’ve never heard clearly from Kenney before.

“I have a firm grasp of the obvious,” Kenney said in a later interview. “There is no reasonable person that can deny that in the decades to come we will see a gradual shift from hydrocarbon-based energy to other forms of energy.”

This will seem obvious to millions of Canadians; but Kenney’s words are an important and crucial change of tone for the UCP government.

There’s a widespread view that the premier, and Albertans in general, don’t acknowledge that a seismic change in energy markets is going on.

We are widely seen as waving a flag of denial on the oilsands ramparts, with no plan but producing more oil and gas.

Abacus Data-Clean Energy Canada polling shows 68 per cent of Canadians — and exactly the same percentage of Albertans — believe Kenney personally opposes transition from oil and gas to greener sources of energy.

And yet, fully 60 per cent of Alberta respondents want him to find ways to shift Alberta’s economy to green over time.

That figure is higher in Canada at large, at 72 per cent. But the clear majority of Albertans have come to terms with the changing world. And they obviously want the premier to be on board.

To view the full original article by Don Braid, click here: