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Letter from Canada: Net zero poses existential threat to oil sands

Oil sands producers will need to make drastic changes if they are going to survive the next few decades

One would not need to be a rocket scientist to know that decarbonisation of the global energy mix is bad news for Canada’s oil sands industry. There has been an exodus of foreign oil companies from the resource since the 2014-16 oil price crash, while some remaining actors have taken large write-downs on their oil sands holdings in the past year or so as the climate change movement has picked up steam. But it was not until the release of the IEA’s Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector report in mid-May, with its net-zero emissions (NZE) scenario—possibly the definitive one for meeting the Paris Agreement’s stretch goal of limiting the rise in global temperatures to 1.5°C—



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