Thank you, Mr. Chair, for the introduction and for inviting me to appear before the committee.
Good evening, members. First, I would like to recognize that we are meeting on the traditional territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people.
The Standing Committee on Natural Resources is important, and the topic at hand is of vital national importance. I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you and with my colleague and friend, Minister Wilkinson.
I know I speak for both of us when I commend you for bringing so many expert witnesses to this committee. I hope our contribution builds on your excellent work. The questions being asked here underscore your breadth of experience on energy issues.
Mr. Chair, I'd like to frame my remarks with two global realities.
One reality is the Russian aggression and the European conflict it has sparked. This conflict is rearranging global energy supply chains in real time.
The other reality is the climate crisis and global competition. We must make sure that we aren't left behind in a carbon‑constrained world.
In the heat of the moment, these realities may seem at odds, even working at cross‑purposes.
Both of these realities speak of change, the end of business as usual, and ultimately they point in the same direction.
As the Prime Minister said last week, European leaders are clear. They don't just want to end their dependence on Russian oil and gas. They want to accelerate the energy transformation to clean and green power.
Last week, we tabled our government's 2030 emissions reduction plan. I encourage you all to study it. It's a very detailed plan. It reflects thoughtful contributions from every corner of Canada, including from indigenous peoples. They must be full partners, given that they have been stewards of our environment since time immemorial.
It's a plan for every region and every sector, a road map that identifies pathways for Canada to reach its emissions reduction target of 40% to 45% below 2005 levels by 2030 and of net-zero emissions by 2050.
Above all, this plan aims to be both ambitious and achievable.
I'll now come back to our two realities.
We all recognize that there will continue to be a global need for oil and gas in the years to come.
However, we simply cannot ignore the fact that the oil and gas sector is Canada's biggest emitter. Between 1990 and 2019, the sector's total greenhouse gas emissions grew by 87%. Today the oil and gas sector accounts for 26% of Canada's emissions.
Competing in a carbon‑constrained future means not only diversifying our energy mix but offering lower carbon oil and gas to the world.
Canada's biggest oil and gas producers recognize this reality and have committed to achieving net‑zero emissions by 2050. They see that reaching a net‑zero global economy represents a massive economic opportunity for businesses, workers and communities. Energy producers look for policy stability and certainty to invest wisely.
If any oil and gas sector in the world can do this, Canada's can. We have the skilled workers, the engineers and the energy innovators to make it happen.
The cap that we've committed to implementing on emissions from the oil and gas sector will be a vital step, both in our work to meet our 2030 emissions goals and to stay on track to reach net‑zero emissions by 2050.
We haven't made any firm decisions on the design and scope of the oil and gas emissions cap. All this will be established in the coming months.
Its design will need to take into account the complex character of the industry. It will need to ensure that emissions decline at a pace and scale needed to achieve net zero by 2050.
Mr. Chair, last week my department published a discussion paper and launched consultations with provinces, territories, indigenous leaders, stakeholders and the public on options for regulating Canada's commitment to reduce oil and gas methane by 75% by 2030.
During these discussions, we'll explore how this commitment relates to carbon capping.
Minister Wilkinson will elaborate on the consultation process regarding the design of the cap. We'll be happy to answer your questions.
This committee's study is important to that conversation. We all want a healthier, more resilient and more equitable Canada. We're all here to be part of the solution.