See the results of our week-long Twitter poll

What's Your Energy Literacy?

Somewhere along the way, energy got a bad rap... 

We are aiming to create awareness and education about Canadian Energy.

Join us in Viewpoint's Energy Literacy Week! We asked daily questions on our twitter to people across Canada. See the detailed answers below. For a summary of the results of our poll, see our special edition of Sagacious

Follow along and learn more about the energy sector!

Take our quiz below before scrolling down for the answers to see how knowledgeable you are about Canadian Energy.

Question 1: November 19th, 2019

What is the percentage of GHG emissions that come from the consumption of fossil fuels? (e.g., driving cars, heating homes, cooking food)?

The answer is 80%. 

Surprising to some, GHG emissions from consumption include activities like driving, commuting using public transit, and the heating of homes and public buildings, contributes the most to GHG emissions in Canada. Some experts call this the 80/20 rule.

While producing various fossil fuels and forms of energy certainly involves the release of GHG emissions into the air (upstream activities), this accounts for approximately 20% of overall emissions in Canada. Downstream activities, i.e. the combustion of fossil fuels,  equates to roughly 4x more emissions. See ARC Energy Institute's Jackie Forrest's work below:

"The majority of GHG emissions – over 80 percent – occur in the hands of the end user, during the combustion stage when a car’s ignition is turned on, when a jet-engine airplane fires up its turbines, or when a diesel locomotive pulls heavy freight down a railroad track."

To meaningfully reduce GHG emissions in Canada, we can't only look at upstream oil and gas producers. Consumers like you and me, making everyday choices around our energy usage, also need to become part of the conversation, taking accountability and exploring the ways we can reduce our individual footprints. 

What Can You Do?

There are a number of things that we as consumers can do to reduce our environmental footprint, lowering the emissions we create in the consumption of energy. Project Drawdown provides some interesting ideas that will probably surprise you as much as they surprised us! Take the quiz from CNN  to explore what you can do personally and what we can do as a society to have a bigger impact. 

Question 2: November 20, 2019

What percentage does Canada's oil sands contribute to global GHG emissions?

The answer is 0.15%

Canada’s oil sands contribute approximately 0.15% to global GHG emissions. If we phase out our oil sands, lost volumes would be replaced by supplies from other countries with much lower ESG and human right standards – and they would still generate GHG emissions in the extraction process.

How Do We Make A Material Impact?

The GHG emissions from the oil sands is immaterial on a global basis. That is not to say however that we cannot try to reduce our emissions, but that there are other ways to make a big impact.

For example, LNG Canada will be the lowest emission LNG plant in the world and will reduce emissions by 60 to 90 MT through the replacement of coal in China. This is roughly equivalent to removing 80% of the cars on Canada’s roads.

For context, if we replaced every Canadian car with an electric Tesla made at current rates, it would take approximately 57 years to produce the same climate benefit that LNG Canada will have in only 4 years.

Question 3: November 21th, 2019

Globally, after investing about $4 trillion, what is renewable energy's share of total energy use in the world?

The answer is 4%​​​​

After investing $4 trillion, renewable energy’s share of total energy use globally has only risen to 4%. We are making progress, but the idea of a swift transition with solar and wind as the primary energy replacement strategy is unrealistic. Renewables have strong potential, but also depend greatly upon geographical features (e.g., a steep decline or waterfall for hydro energy).

Canada is a world leader in the production and use of energy from renewable sources, with hydro contributing 59.3% of Canada’s total electricity generation. 

However, while Canada can be considered energy abundant, there are many parts of the world still experiencing severe energy poverty, with renewables not providing any near-term opportunities given the economic circumstances in these countries.

Approximately one billion people in the world still live without electricity, and another three billion people still use polluting fuels to cook, undermining health and quality of life. There is no question that access to energy is essential to reduce poverty but renewables alone are insufficient as a short-term bridge to a low-carbon world.

Question 4: November 21, 2019

Are Canada's GHG emissions a direct cause of climate change events in Canada?

The answer is no.

Global emissions are a global problem. In other words, the Alberta oil sands are not solely responsible for wildfires in Alberta. Regardless of whether a coal plant is in Canada, China, or the United states, the effect of GHGs in the atmosphere is roughly the same all over the world. At the local level, in Canada, we are not creating our climate.

In addition, looking only at one location in isolation does not provide the full picture. For example, by importing goods manufactured from China, like our laptops, smartphones, and clothing, we are contributing to GHG emissions. 

The GHG emissions released globally to satisfy Canadian demand for goods and services are referred to as shadow emissions. When we buy imports from China we can induce emissions from coal-fired electricity plants in that country…Shadow emissions also show us that by helping our trading partners decarbonize we reduce our GHG shadow.”

So, where does that leave us?

We need stronger leadership, awareness, and education around energy and fossil fuels.

All in all, the results confirm that in Canada, we need stronger leadership, awareness, and education around the use of fossil fuels, climate change, and Canada’s world-class energy sector. The implications of turning our backs on the Canadian energy sector are too high: the country is becoming increasingly divided; capital is scarce and new investment interest is non-existent; hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost; and globally, there has been no material benefit to the issue of climate change. China and India are burning more coal and creating more emissions, and Canada is not playing a role in the transition that is needed in those countries.

We are in this together.

We know that we are in this together. It will take cooperation from not only Canadians across Canada, but partnerships across the world. We cannot solve a global problem by ourselves. Whether it be providing developing countries with accessible, low-carbon energy products to replace coal, or making stronger efforts to offset emissions (e.g. tree planting), we can have a global impact in reducing emissions, but we need stronger, bolder leadership and supportive policy.

As world leaders in ESG, at Viewpoint we believe Canada has a responsibility to provide energy to the world as we transition to a new, low-carbon economy. This country was built on the values of hard-work, determination, collaboration, and most importantly, an openness and acceptance of opportunity and partnership. We set ourselves apart globally by the care and kindness we show for one another and others across the world; the challenge at hand requires us to call on these foundational values. We can follow the model our forefathers set, establishing new standards and leading meaningfully when we start listening to one another, opening our minds to new information and education, and work together towards a greater goal; not for ourselves, but for all the generations that will come after us.

Still Curious?

Read the full document on Canada's Opportunity in Energy Leadership. 

This work has been funded by Viewpoint Capital Corporation.

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