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Think thank says Canada must think beyond oil

Staff writer |
A Canadian government think tank is calling for the country to make a seismic shift away from its economic dependence on oil production or risk being left.

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The report "Canada in a Changing Energy Global Energy Landscape" says that Canada should begin to adjust its energy priorities to prepare for the significant changes in the energy landscape expected to occur within the next 10-15 years.

The powerful drivers pushing Canada in this direction are the falling costs of renewable energy, led by wind and solar; the increasing proportion of electricity in global energy use; and the pressures on countries to grow their economies while slashing greenhouse gas emissions and dangerous air pollution.

"In combination, these drivers could lead to renewable-sourced electricity replacing fossil fuels as the dominant form of primary energy used in the global economy for most industrial, commercial and personal activity," the report said.

The authors, citing dozens of scientific papers and articles, said they foresee a near future in which the world's power plants, factories, industries and vehicles are increasingly powered by wind and solar electricity. That may happen much faster than predicted, "significantly disrupting fossil fuel markets."

And while Canada "would be relatively well placed to take advantage of an electricity-based industrial ecosystem," the repercussions on its petroleum assets and economy would be vast.

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