Resource Development in a Low-Carbon Future

A Strategy for Emissions Reduction and Economic Recovery

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time—and Alberta can be part of the solution.

The Resource Development in a Low-Carbon Future Task Force was established to chart the positive future of Alberta’s natural resource sector to play a leading role in the transition to a low carbon economy, working towards net zero, while building a healthy environment and sustainable economy.

The task force found a clear path forward: strategic investment, which drives a meaningful impact on reducing emissions and ignites economic recovery.

The summary presentation outlines the opportunity, approach, and various recommendations for industry and governments to position Canada as the leader in creating the energy, food, and resource systems of the future.

Climate change is a leading threat to our collective well-being. It is one of the biggest environmental, social, economic, and ethical challenges of our time.

Canada has committed to reduce carbon emissions by more than 30% this decade and has introduced legislation aimed at achieving net zero by 2050.

Net zero is an ambitious target. But with the right set of policies, investments, and messages, Canada can take action to reduce emissions and also be among the best in the world at creating the energy, food, and resource systems of the future.

As Canada’s leading source of energy, Alberta can be a major player in creating change, achieving our climate goals and ensuring a sustainable economic recovery.

Canada has so many natural resource advantages and a huge head start in areas like carbon capture and utilization, hydrogen, and renewables. In fact, natural resource companies account for 75% of all the clean energy investment in Canada. Most of these companies are based in Alberta. Consider the examples below.

Clean Energy Investments in Alberta

  • The newly launched Alberta Carbon Trunk Line is the largest carbon capture project in the world.
  • ATCO recently completed Canada’s largest off-grid solar project, partnering with three of Alberta’s First Nations, and ATCO was among the first of Alberta companies to pilot hydrogen blending.
  • Enbridge is building Alberta Solar One, a $20 million 10.5-megawatt (MW) solar energy project to supply a portion of Enbridge’s Canadian Mainline pipeline network’s power requirements with renewable power. 
  • TransAlta launched Alberta’s first grid-scale battery storage project, Windcharger, earlier in 2020.
  • Alberta has actively been greening its electrical system. Alberta’s largest power generator has already reduced emissions by 50%, or 21 million tonnes of CO2, and will be entirely off coal in 2021. This is more CO2 reduction by a single company than most nations.
  • Cenovus has made significant investments in its Indigenous communities and has made considerable progress toward its $50 million, five-year housing initiative.

Alberta businesses are working hard to reduce emissions and be leaders in climate action. With the right policies and investments in place, they can do even more.

How do we do more on climate action?

Right now, Canada is behind the world in key investment areas like hydrogen, faces major challenges in its regulatory system, and struggles to attract the capital it needs to make the necessary investments. To achieve our climate goals, enable economic recovery, and enhance our competitiveness, we believe that we must do two major things:

1. Harness Canada’s natural resources and human assets to build the next generation of energy and technologies.

2. Decrease the carbon emissions from energy we continue to use and that is our largest export.

BCA’s Task Force on Resource Development in a Low-Carbon Future outlines in its final report an approach and recommendations to not only accomplish these two tasks but also reduce emissions and support an inclusive recovery that puts Canadian prosperity—economic, social, and environmental—at the centre.

Our Recommendations


Communicate a positive message in support of the resources sector​.

Investor confidence is critical to enabling the amount of private sector investment required to achieve net zero. Publicly communicating that the government supports a healthy, competitive, productive, and export-oriented natural resource sector is a key component of building this confidence.​


Create a world-leading policy environment.

To attract that investment, the federal government must first create the world’s most competitive and enabling business environment. This includes creating an efficient and outcomes driven regulatory system, transparent carbon price signals, and establishing Canada as a global innovation hub.


Advance action through investment in current and future solutions.

Government investments and incentives must build the enabling infrastructure, technology, and skills. An ambitious investment plan is one that: builds capacity; bends the curve on emissions; leverages Canada’s existing assets and strengths; attracts private capital; and plants the seeds for future and unforeseen innovations.

About the Task Force

Carbon management is an essential component of the economy, and climate change should be treated as an opportunity to add value rather than lose it. Alberta already has the right natural resources, talent, and investment history to make this a reality.

The Task Force on Resource Development in a Low Carbon Future was struck to examine the future of Alberta’s natural resource sector—oil and gas, mining, electricity, agriculture, and forestry—within the current policy and regulatory environment, and within the context of transitioning to a low-carbon economy. It was tasked with developing a framework to help Canada achieve its climate ambitions while building a healthy environment and a sustainable economy.

    Task Force Members

    • Dawn Farrell, President & Chief Executive Officer, TransAlta (Task Force Chair)
    • Alan Reid, Executive Vice-President, Stakeholder Engagement, Safety, Legal & General Counsel, Cenovus
    • Chris Richer, Vice President, Calgary Homes, Brookfield Residential
    • Don Smith, Vice President, Petroleum & Innovation, UFA
    • Eric Axford, Chief Sustainability Officer, Suncor
    • Hal Kvisle, Board Chair, Business Council of Alberta
    • Mac Van Wielingen, Founder & Partner, ARC Financial
    • Michael Webb, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources & Administrative Officer, Nutrien
    • Myron Standyk, President & CEO, ARC Resources
    • Patrick Keys, Executive Vice-President, Stakeholder Relations and General Counsel, TC Energy
    • Rick Doman, Forestry Executive
    • Roxanna Benoit, Vice President, Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability, Enbridge (Retired)
    • Sue Riddell-Rose, President & Chief Executive Officer, Perpetual Energy

      Supporting Contributors

      • Chelsea Donelon, Policy Analyst to the President and CEO, TransAlta
      • Christina Iversen, Public Affairs & Industry Relations, TC Energy
      Task Force Timeline

      • Task Force Launched: January 2020
      • Government Advocacy Meetings: October 2020
      • Final Report Released: December 2020

      For more information, contact:

      Mike Holden, Vice President, Policy & Chief Economist
      Twitter: @MHoldenAB

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