As Alberta’s oil and gas industry goes, so does the province’s prosperity. The industry is fundamental to Wild Rose Country’s high quality of life with about 50 per cent of the economy directly or indirectly associated with the sector. That’s why the Calgary Chamber of Commerce was proud to partner in the ‘Alberta is Energy’ campaign and create the ‘Changing The Climate’ policy and events series. “As the home to many of Canada’s leading energy companies, Calgary’s business community plays an important role in raising awareness about the industry’s positive contribution and providing discourse on complex environmental issues such as climate change,” said Geoff Pradella, Vice-President of Public & Government Affairs with the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.
In April, the Chamber partnered with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and seven other industry groups to launch the ‘Alberta is Energy’ campaign, promoting the economic benefits of the industry and the role it plays in meeting world energy demand in a socially responsible way. A month later, the Chamber joined the Canada West Foundation to kick off the ‘Changing The Climate’ policy and event series. The initiative will explore key energy and climate change topics by hosting international experts, culminating in a major policy paper with strategic recommendations. The intent is to contribute ideas to policy development at the national level.
“Both of these initiatives will showcase Calgary as a leader on energy and environmental issues,” stated Pradella. CAPP President David Collyer commenced the ‘Alberta is Energy’ campaign in a keynote luncheon speech hosted by the Chamber with over 500 attendees.
Collyer opened with the challenge that global energy needs will double in the next 40 years, requiring all forms of energy from oil sands to biofuels. “Nowhere is the interplay of these global supply and demand forces, as well as the economic, environmental and political focus on energy development more tangible and more advanced than in Alberta right now,” said Collyer. The ‘Alberta is Energy’ initiative will continue to tell stories over the year and will be launched in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and expanded across Canada.
Oil and gas activity in Alberta is one of the largest contributors to the economy. One in six Albertans rely on the industry for employment. Royalties and land sales generated $12 billion for Alberta’s 2008/09 budget, about one-third of total government revenue. “A healthy, active industry means revenues to the province and jobs for Albertans,” stated Collyer. To ensure Alberta continues to prosper in an increasingly carbon-constrained world, the Chamber intends to make recommendations to develop national energy and climate change policy through the ‘Changing The Climate’ series.
The series, which brings together the business community, a leading public policy institute in the Canada West Foundation, and international experts, will explore energy and environmental policy development in a Canadian and continental context. Economic implications and the potential of new technology will also be covered.
“Canada requires a national energy and environmental strategy that positions Canada as a reliable and responsible North American energy producer,” said Roger Gibbins, President and CEO of the Canada West Foundation. Look out for more events and policy announcements surrounding ‘Alberta is Energy’ and ‘Changing The Climate’ in the near future.
Thomas Palak is the Policy & Communications Strategist of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce
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