The Future of Canada’s Oil Sands in a Decarbonizing Global Economy

CIGI Paper No. 94

March 15, 2016

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta premier Rachel Notley have both argued that improving Canada’s emissions record will safeguard the future development of the oil sands. The perspective offers little recognition of the current problems facing the country’s largest energy resource, and even less recognition of the problems that the oil sands will encounter as a result of actions taken by other countries to limit their own carbon emissions as pledged recently at the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. As climate change compels deep decarbonization of the global economy, emission restrictions around the world will destroy demand for billions of barrels of oil over the coming decades, severely impairing the economic viability of high-cost producers.

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