The recent pipeline decision was seen by many as one that would benefit the economy and create new jobs, particularly in Alberta, whose economy has been hard hit in the last few months.
According to Chelsie Klassen, a spokesperson for CAPP (Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers), the oil sands need to be expanded because with growing demands, Canada needs to rely on both oil and renewable energy. "I don't think that it's an either or,” she said. “I think that both will be required for an energy future that has such high demands."
However, according Marc Jacobson, a leading researcher on renewable energy from Stanford University, we have the technology and resources at hand for the world to be able to run on 100% renewable energy by 2050 if we begin to make the transition now.
Thousands of people gathered in November 2015 to send a message to world leaders at the COP 21 conference: (renewables are) 100% possible. Source: http://www.100possible.ca.
Roger Peters, one of the founders of the Ottawa Renewable Energy CO-OP, notes that the price of renewable energy, particularly solar, has dropped significantly in the last few years. When his co-op first started years ago, it cost 50-60 cents per kilowatt per hour but in the last six years, the price has dropped to only 19 cents.
As Tim Jordan, a second year student majoring in Carleton's Sustainable and Renewable Energy engineering program pointed out, "People don't want to spend the money when there's a cheaper alternative. That's why it's the responsibility of the engineers and the designers in the green energy field to make it as competitive as possible."
Indigenous leaders and their communities are often on the front lines of opposition against new fossil fuels projects.
In some areas, Canada is making some progress towards increased renewables use, especially in the energy sector. As Alex Depaiva, a TA in Carleton's Environmental Studies program said, "There should be a bigger push to renewables because between hydro, wind and solar and tidal power we could totally do it, it's just switching people over gradually."
According to Depaiva, Canada relies a lot less on oil than people think. Oil sands pipelines are mainly being expanded to create a product that our country can sell to foreign markets.