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No simple fix for climate solutions

Gas station pump. Man filling gasoline fuel in green car holding nozzle. Close up.

The unfortunate and catastrophic weather events that have happened in regions of British Columbia in November have highlighted two things succinctly: 1) that climate change will have devastating impacts on our country, and we must act to mitigate it, and 2) in the face of the floods, it has been made abundantly clear how important petroleum products and fuel supply are to our day-to-day functioning, and our economy.

We saw industries and towns on the brink of collapse, and our supply chains tested like never before. We also saw communities and industry come together, and work faster and more efficiently to help the people of British Columbia. 

CIPMA, for example, engaged near daily with government officials provincially and federally to review supply chain impacts and worked to ensure products could be delivered to work toward recovery.

So, with the obvious tension between our climate goals, and our current dependence on oil and gasoline, how do we alleviate the polarization of an industry that can help Canadians achieve target emissions?

There isn’t one simple answer, but the key lies in being open to a myriad of solutions, none that alienate a specific industry or sector. Some recommendations from CIPMA include:

Refocus on renewables

Somewhere along the mix, renewable fuel mandates have been pushed to the wayside. The research is clear. Renewable fuels significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the potential to increase ethanol content in fuel is significant. 

For example, our gasoline typically has 8% ethanol in it, unless you are buying premium. Many vehicles have the potential to process 15% ethanol or higher. Flex-fuel vehicles can use 85% ethanol in gasoline. 

The future of renewables, in gasoline and diesel, needs to be prioritized and adopted as a means to reduce our emissions, and offer Canadians choices in how they do so.

Research, research, research

As we work toward our climate goals, it’s clear that we do objective research to inform industry decisions. This is why CIPMA is a proud founding member of the Canadian Transportation Alliance (

Through the alliance, industry will come together to commission research on the sector at large, including a look at consumer expectations and needs as we make the climate transition.

We are currently engaged in a significant research endeavour, focused on how we achieve net-zero with the resources and sectors we have today, including electricity and hydrogen.

This will be the first piece of research that looks holistically at our targets, rather than focusing on a specific sector’s capability to reduce emissions without factoring in other sectors and the role they can play in a connected and integrated manner.

Collaboration is key

It’s abundantly clear that an energy transition is happening. CIPMA supports this, and in fact, considers itself a key player in how this evolves to support a better and brighter future, where our carbon outputs are greatly reduced.

We must all align and act together. We cannot afford to keep reacting to natural disasters and weather events, without putting a proactive planning approach together. Canadians deserve that. 

Originally published in the January/February issue of OCTANESubscribe today!


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Jennifer Stewart president and CEO CIPMA supplied

Jennifer Stewart is and CEO of the Canadian Independent Petroleum Marketers Association, is a national not-for-profit trade association representing the unique interests of its members. CIPMA members are the backbone of Canada’s fuel supply, distribution and marketing industry. Stewart also spearheads the Canadian Transportation Alliance (CTA), a non-advocacy, non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that aims to deliver objective, fact-based, third-party research to help educate government bodies, consumers, and business stakeholders on a variety of issues affecting the Canadian transportation market.

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