Canada's ongoing political battle between climate action and the economic benefits of the oil and gas industry will be on full display today as the CEO of oilsands giant Suncor appears at a House of Commons committee.

Rich Kruger was invited to the natural resources committee after he spoke to shareholders in August about refocusing the company on its oil business and reducing the emphasis on the transition to lower-emitting energy sources.

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said Kruger's comments prove why Ottawa needed to regulate climate action and set emissions caps for oil and gas production since companies like Suncor weren't going to do it on their own.

Kruger said in an op-ed published in the Calgary Herald in September that his comments were taken out of context and that the company was still committed to decarbonizing its core oil business.

Suncor is part of the Pathways Alliance, a consortium of oilsands companies investing in carbon capture and storage technology.

However, Suncor began retreating from renewable energy even before Kruger took over as CEO, moving last year to sell off its solar and wind power assets.

Calgary Liberal MP George Chahal, who was recently elected chair of the natural resources committee, said he hopes the meeting will bring some clarity about the company's plans.

"I think it will be an interesting meeting having a CEO of a major oil company at committee, and I think it would be good to hear from his perspective on the direction of his company and the future of the energy industry and why he made the comments he did."

Guilbeault is set to publish draft regulations later this fall setting a cap on greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas, and then ratcheting that cap down over the next decade.

#Suncor CEO appearing today at Commons committee to explain comments on #sustainability. #CDNPoli

The oil and gas industry accounts for more than one-quarter of Canada's total emissions and the country cannot meet its climate targets without significant emissions reductions from the sector by 2030.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 16, 2023.

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