Big Green and Big Oil square off at GLOBE sustainability summit

“It’s not going to happen, I’m sorry,” Enbridge CEO says about the likelihood of a major clean energy shift before 2050

Enbridge CEO squares off against Rocky Mountain Institute CEO at GLOBE 2014
Enbridge CEO (right) shares his views on the future of energy with the CEO of environmental-NGO Rocky Mountain Institute (left), at the GLOBE 2014 conference in Vancouver on Friday. Photo by Mychaylo Prystupa.

In some testy exchanges at a "GLOBE 2014" sustainability conference in Vancouver on Friday, the CEO of Canada’s largest crude oil pipeline company squared off with influential environmental leaders over the pace of transitioning society off fossil fuels and towards clean energy.

“We all want to decrease emissions," said Al Monaco, CEO of Enbridge, but the executive doubted if greenhouse gases could be realistically slashed by 80 per cent by 2050 to avert climate warming dangers, while also meeting rising global energy demands.

"It’s not going to happen, I’m sorry,” said Monaco.

“If you look at population growth, if you look at urbanization, and the improvements in standard of living that the globe desires... the practicality is, we’re going to need fossil fuels,” said Monaco.

Elizabeth May - Green Party leader at UBC law faculty women's event

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May at a recent UBC Law event -- Twitter

But environmental stalwarts responding, did not mince words.

“As testamentary evidence of corporate irresponsibility in huge letters flashing in neon, Mr. Monaco could not have done much better,” said Elizabeth May, Green Party Leader of Canada. 

“And then he said ‘sorry’ that’s the way it is?  Well he should apologize to his own grandchildren.”

“He’s trying to get social license to build [the Northern Gateway] pipeline across northern British Columbia – and that’s his level of understanding of the climate crisis?"

"I was absolutely stunned by his level of ignorance,” said May.

But Monaco suggested the green road ahead may not be so clear.  A rapid increase in renewable power -- to charge the mass adoption of zero-emission-electric vehicles for instance -- still faces many technical obstacles. 

“If you think building pipelines is tough.…” said the Enbridge CEO, the cost and technical challenges of transmitting the power of solar, wind and geothermal plants over long distances are very difficult.

Worse, he said, once renewables surpasses 20 per cent of the grid, "you start to see a lot of instability, and that has to do with intermittency of renewables."

But there too, the pipeline executive was challenged.

“This is the single most consistent fairy tale that is being spread around,” said Jules Kortenhorst, CEO, of the influential Rocky Mountain Institute - a U.S. based environmental NGO.  He said Denmark has one of the most reliable energy grids in the world, and is run on 45 per cent renewable electricity.

“We have all the technology -- yes, it requires some smart technologies -- I.T. coupled to the grid -- but there is no issue.  The fact that you keep hearing that as you get over 20 per cent, 'you're going to get brown outs'... it's complete baloney.”

Fusion energy breakthrough?

General Fusion reactor in Burnaby

General Fusion reactor in Burnaby. Photo provided by General Fusion. 

Burnaby-based General Fusion was on the same panel as Enbridge, but promised something altogether different: saving the world.  

The company's director Jacques Besnainou said his 60-employee firm is rapidly closing in on creating a fusion reactor that can create unlimited clean power -- with zero greenhouse gases -- using only salt water.

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Comments

It will happen.

The question I ask the CEO of Enbridge is "Will you be part of the solution, or remain a major problem?" It appears to me that he has set his sights on remaining part of the problem (there is so much profit involved the shareholders will adore you). By 2023 I predict there will be an armed revolt in N America and the fascists will be turfed. It can't come soon enough for this old timer.

Facts

Truth is that most public pensions and union pensions are vested heavily in non-renewable energy.  There is no incentive to invest into unproven technologies with a ROI measured in years instead of quarters.  Sad, but true.

Remember, these are the same ignoramuses who gave themselves whopping pay raises & bonuses after causing the largest inland pipeline disaster in U.S. history through their negligence & incompetence...

'CEO's salary jumped 35 per cent to $8.1 million just months after disaster'

http://thetyee.ca/News/2012/07/12/Enbridge-Executives-Pay-Raise/

 

 

"Monaco said Enbridge has

"Monaco said Enbridge has invested $3.5 billion in the last decade, including on 12 wind facilities, four solar facilities, and new efforts in geothermal.  But renewables, he admitted, represent just 5 per cent of the company's energy. "

Hey, when the sun shine electricity cost $0. There's no money in it so the corporations are not interested. 

 

Enbridge at Global 2014

Denmark survives off nuclear power from France and Sweden and sells off its wind power offshore at peppercorn prices...and how do you think all those Vesta's towers are made? By wind power driving mining trucks to get the resources to make the towers; solar panels on the cement mixers driving to site and pouring the CO2 intense footings of cement?... every renewable device relies on fossil fuels for its existence, as does this cyber conversation right now. Every wind and solar farm needs 24/7 back-up of conventional power - typically natural gas - because it is the source that can ramp up or down, thus ensuring inefficient burn and even MORE pollution from the emissions. I laugh at those who say wind and solar are free - you can also say oil and gas are free - just laying there in the ground. What costs the money for wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, gas, coal, oil or anything, is the method of converting the 'free' source of energy into useful power. There's no free lunch. If sunshine is so 'free' - don't you think the oil companies would be first in to capitalize on it?  They understand very well the issues associated with it - how inefficient it is compared conventional fuels. New ideas, like the fusion device, will take decades to come to market due to testing and development requirements - not to mention various challenges of integratiing anything new into anything old. It would help if people were less hysterical and more practical about these matters.

dinosaurs

The petro energy business is entering the beginning of the end and they are mired in denial. More and more citizens have come to the realization that the status quo cannot continue. It is becoming more and more likely that in another decade Enbridge and CAPP will not recognize the oil industry. Change will happen in spite of the money they pour into bogus BS outfits like the Fraser Institute . Friends of Science and Postmedia. It's tragic that they spend so much to prop up a sunset industry and so little to develop and nurture the energy sources of the future. As Ms. May points out they are hurting their own grandkids..   Anything for a quick buck.

It's time to do something other than talk politely about the coming genocide. The Arctic methane bomb has already started, climate is now changing everything EXPONENTIALLY, and these well-fed murderers of babies in 3-piece suits still pretend their industry is "ethical". Sorry chumps, I just don't buy it.

The longer the emergency is ignored and meaningful action is postponed, the higher the cost to all. How many tens of trillions of dollars will it cost to relocate the world to higher ground, and since the whole world is already in debt, where the hell is the money going to come from? Who will accommodate and feed the billion climate refugees, considering all the best delta farmland will also be underwater, and the acid oceans devoid of edibles?

We are part of a global civilization now entering a bottleneck, a very brutal End Game in which escalating human conflict and fights over remaining resources will also have an exponential carbon footprint. Double whammy! Democracy in Canada has already been replaced by strident warmongering, and nearly all federal taxes now go to the military-surveillance machine. By the time we take this climate disaster seriously enough, it will be far too late to "mitigate", except by initiating a nuclear winter. It's already too late for magical thinking about fusion breakthroughs by about 30 years, but hey guys keep trying!

Profits Should Not be Sole Motivation

Michelle Stirling, 'Cultural Calgary Ambassador to the constructive side of the oil sands story' as you call yourself, if Haiti can have an energy-intensive hospital that has a 'power surplus...to sell daytime overage back to the grid', there is no reason why we can't cover every parking lot & building on the continent, as well as encourage all the wind & geothermal we can, so that it would offset a tremendous amount of the supplemental fossil fuel we might need. http://cleantechnica.com/2010/08/03/solar-power-transforms-parking-lots-...

Patrick wrote:

Truth is that most public pensions and union pensions are vested heavily in non-renewable energy.  There is no incentive to invest into unproven technologies with a ROI measured in years instead of quarters.  Sad, but true.

Listen to Mariana Mazzucato's TED talk on Government as investor, risk-taker, innovator, or read coverage of her talk at the Progress Summit right now on this very website. Government at all levels has failed us by standing idly by while corporate cows fatten themselves at the trough of fossil fuels. Why is none of the ROI of petro-corps and real estate developers benefiting citizens? 

 

Unless My Math is Horribly, HORRIBLY Wrong...

...we have 36 years until 2050.

The human genome was first cloned 11 years ago, to the tune of approximately $3 billion, and took about a decade.  Today, we have reached the age of the $1,000 genome, and if I'm not mistaken, can comfortably be cloned inside a week:

http://www.illumina.com/systems/hiseq-x-sequencing-system.ilmn

I have no respect and no time for anyone who tells me the world can't change to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

What we need is people whose energy is focused on how to make it happen, and not why it can't happen.

Shame on Enbridge for having this clown represent them.  I sincerely hope we quickly see a leadership change.

Engridge Global 2014

Felicity Hope wrote:

Michelle Stirling, 'Cultural Calgary Ambassador to the constructive side of the oil sands story' as you call yourself, if Haiti can have an energy-intensive hospital that has a 'power surplus...to sell daytime overage back to the grid', there is no reason why we can't cover every parking lot & building on the continent, as well as encourage all the wind & geothermal we can, so that it would offset a tremendous amount of the supplemental fossil fuel we might need. http://cleantechnica.com/2010/08/03/solar-power-transforms-parking-lots-...

 Right, that's about all Haiti has I believe. There are many reasons why we can't cover every parking lot and building ..beginning with the cost-benefit analysis and the fact that solar panels give off toxins...and don't last very long esp in extreme weather conditions like Canada. Wind and solar both use fossil fuels to make the devices and back them up in operation - in very inefficient ways - doubling the use of fossil fuels without doubling the benefits. geothermal sounds good - who's got the money to install it? Not very many people. And...doesn't work in your car. So - I think I have shown that your theory is false.

Get with the times Michelle

Michelle, you're behind the times: newer generation solar panels use no lead or cadmium which older ones did. Not that lead/cadmium can't be recycled or aren't used in other industry--'More than half of the US lead production...is used for (batteries) in automobiles' and 'in 2009, 86% of cadmium was used in batteries'.

  If you knew you had cancer, would you do a cost analysis to determine if you doubled your investment whether it would double the benefits? I think most people would put their money into action rather than taking such a passive view of climate change as you do, and governments can encourage & do impose change when action is deemed necessary.

Half truths anyone?

This article is very disingenuous in not showing the whole picture of the so called clean energy technologies. Solar, Wind machinery is built somewhere on planet earth. Maybe not in the same back yard where a nice modern politically correct wind mill sits, but across the world in a less environmental strict jurisdiction, with associated green gas and carbon footprint nevertheless.

 

Failing to identify Clean energy alternatives as a transfer mechanism where the environmental costs for producing the generating asset are accrued in a different space and time to where the actual generation happens, is a half truth at best, and does not solve the GLOBAL problem.

 

Besides if we want to be part of the solution, we can not ignore the facts so blatantly IMO.

 

Speaking of half truths...

Luis Cabana, speaking of disingenuous, here's 2 quotes:
'production of synthetic crude oil from tar sands is estimated to release at least three times the
greenhouse gas emissions per barrel as compared to production of conventional crude oil' and

'all the solar panels online around the world last year (2012) produced enough energy to make up for the energy it took to make them'.

roi

Jonathan wrote:

Patrick wrote:

Truth is that most public pensions and union pensions are vested heavily in non-renewable energy.  There is no incentive to invest into unproven technologies with a ROI measured in years instead of quarters.  Sad, but true.

Listen to Mariana Mazzucato's TED talk on Government as investor, risk-taker, innovator, or read coverage of her talk at the Progress Summit right now on this very website. Government at all levels has failed us by standing idly by while corporate cows fatten themselves at the trough of fossil fuels. Why is none of the ROI of petro-corps and real estate developers benefiting citizens? 

 

 Because they weren't the ones putting up the money? If you don't put any money into an investment, I fail to see how you deserve the returns on it. Other then CPP, which is invested in it, one way or another thru mutual funds as well as the rest of the various investment methods.

  What your really asking is why aren't their profits being stripped from them because you deserve them more, because you say so.

Big Oil could be part of the solution

Practically-speaking, we're going to need nearly every drop of O&G to transition from the carbon-economy to the solar economy -- so why is #BigOil so desperate to drill and burn it into the atmosphere so quickly?  It's not like it's going to lose value. 

Well, maybe $OilAndGas will take a LITTLE hit in value when renewables come online in force, but the smart ones are already pumping some of their profligate profits into renewable energy -- but we need them to get their foot off the brakes. 

BigOil and BigGovt can be a big part of the solution, instead of the problem.

Fossil fuels as an investment

Continuing to preach about fossil fuels as an investment overlooks several important factors.  1) It will cost them more and more to produce their product. Sources of easy & cheap oil are mostly gone. The cost of energy to produce their product is increasing too. 2) If you factor in the cost of ignoring climate change, ignoring the cost to SOCIETY, then you're not looking at the true cost of their product. That, of course, would be paid indirectly by their customers and taxpayers. 3) What would really throw their figures off is a CARBON TAX.