Alberta needs to start shifting quickly out of the oil sands to avoid serious economic trouble as the world moves away from fossil fuels, warns SEED professor Thomas Homer-Dixon in an interview with the Edmonton Journal.
Homer-Dixon, an expert on links between society, technology, and nature, says that financial, legal and environmental pressures will push countries to deal with climate change by turning away from fossil fuels in coming decades, and that will hit oil-rich Alberta hard.
“We need to shift our market from exporting stuff to exporting ideas and engineering expertise. The folks who think that we can just wait a while and get back to the status quo and oil around $100 (per barrel), and that the climate change problem will just go away or not be so bad … they’re living in la-la land.”
Virtually every country except the United States has joined the Paris Agreement aimed at limiting this century’s global temperature increases to well below 2 C above pre-industrial levels, and Homer-Dixon says he hopes Alberta adapts more quickly to avoid economical damages.
Thomas Homer Dixon is a professor at Faculty of Environment's School of Environment, Enterprise and Development, professor at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, as well as CIGI Chair of Global Systems and involved with the Water Institute at the University of Waterloo.