Madam Speaker, before I begin, I would like to inform the House that I will be sharing my time with my hon. colleague, the wonderful member for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook. I know he will have a lot to say very soon.
I want to thank the member for Lakeland for initiating this emergency debate. I know she is passionate about this issue and has asked a lot of questions about it. She is only doing what all of us in this House would do when representing our constituents, and I salute her for that.
I understand that she is disappointed by the decision of Teck Resources to withdraw its application for the Frontier mine project, but proponents make business decisions every day and we may not always like them. In this case, Frontier had the potential to create good-paying jobs during construction and would have created new wealth and opportunities across the country. It would have generated new revenues for all levels of government. Perhaps, most importantly it carried the support of all 14 surrounding first nations communities. That was no small accomplishment, particularly in this challenging time when we must find innovative ways to balance economic growth, environmental protection and indigenous participation.
Indeed, even as Teck Resources acknowledged that it made a difficult decision based on its economic and operational interests, the company's CEO, Don Lindsay, also identified the larger issue at play. He wrote that Frontier:
...surfaced a broader debate over climate change and Canada’s role in addressing it. It is our hope that withdrawing from the process will allow Canadians to shift to a larger and more positive discussion about the path forward.
Teck Resources is right. We need to continue to have a positive discussion, to search for common ground and move ahead as a country, which is also why now is not the time for taking sides, drawing lines or fanning divisions. That has never served Canadians well in the building of our country and it is not helpful now. Instead, we need to engage in constructive dialogue here in this House and across the country, because we are at a pivotal moment in our history, grappling with national issues that are not easy. On the one hand, the federal government has a core responsibility to ensure Canada can develop its abundant natural resources, get them to market and support good, middle-class jobs. That is why major infrastructure projects like new pipelines to tidewater are essential. They create access to new markets and better prices for valuable Canadian resources. On the other hand, we also know that responsible resource development is only possible when we earn public trust by addressing local, environmental and indigenous peoples' concerns. Our government is committed to meeting this dual challenge.
We passed legislation last year that specifically puts in place new rules to better protect our environment and communities, while making sure good projects are built to create good jobs for the middle class. There are literally hundreds of major resource projects worth hundreds of billions of dollars either under way or planned across Canada over the next decade. Dozens are in the oil sands and all would help to make Canada a global supplier of choice for the materials and finished projects that will drive a low-carbon future.
Canada's petroleum sector is part of that. It is a key contributor to employment and economic growth. It enriches communities in Alberta and across Canada. According to some of our most recent data, the oil and gas sector currently contributes about 8% to the national GDP and employs upward of 564,000 Canadians in direct and indirect jobs across the country, including indigenous communities. It is also an important partner in our climate change effort and our commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. That is worth emphasizing, because there is a persistent myth that petroleum-producing countries like Canada cannot be serious about climate change. I understand why that might be. There are some petro-states with dubious records on climate change, but Canada is not one of them. In fact, it is just the opposite. We are one of 77 countries to commit to net-zero emissions by 2050 and we intend to do it, just as we are doubling down to exceed our 2030 climate targets by putting a price on pollution, phasing out coal-powered electricity and making generational investments in clean energy, new technologies and green infrastructure, because many of the breakthroughs that will get us to where we want to go have yet to be invented or need a little help getting to market.
That is why we announced the winners of our breakthrough clean energy solution initiative earlier this month as part of our efforts to bring the public and private sectors together to invest in potentially game-changing new technologies.
Canada's petroleum industry has been part of this energy transformation. For example, over the past decade Canada's petroleum sector has accounted for almost 70% of all private sector spending on R and D in energy innovation across the country. This includes the oil sands top 13 producers, which have been pooling their resources to fund more than a thousand distinct innovations and technologies.
Federal scientists in Devon have been working with industry on these advancements, and our government is investing $100 million to support the industry-led clean resource innovation network, which is aimed at making Canada's petroleum sector the cleanest in the world. I know we can get there. We are doing all of this because every climate change model suggests that we can meet our global targets while having cleaner oil and gas powering much of the world.
How is this possible? There are two points. First, fossil fuels currently account for just under 80% of the energy used around the globe. Second, even under scenarios in which we keep the planet from warming more than 1.5°, fossil fuels still account for 58% of our energy and oil production is still around 65 million barrels a day.
We can and should do even better than that. We should aim for less than a 1.5° rise, but my point is that fossil fuels will remain an important source of energy for a long time. Why should the best-in-class oil not come from Canada, from Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador?
Let me be clear. That does not mean that we can carry on with business as usual. We cannot. Major changes are needed now. That is why we have a vision based on four pillars to make Canada a global leader in the clean energy future.
The first is to enhance energy efficiency, because the best sources of energy are the ones we do not use. In fact, according to Efficiency Canada, conserving energy could take us 25% of the way to our Paris goals.
The second is to be using more clean power, particularly in energy-intensive sectors such as transportation and heating, as well as mining and petroleum extraction, so that we have the world's cleanest mills, mines and factories.
The third is to expand our use of low-carbon fuels, as many indigenous communities are doing by using biomass from forests as a source of both power and jobs.
The fourth pillar is producing the world's cleanest petroleum.
All of these are global game-changers that will help accelerate a generational energy transformation. Canada can lead the way through the wealth of its land and the wisdom of its people. That is our vision. That is what our government is doing.