Poor Alberta Premier Danielle Smith. She went to what she thought would be an oilfield convention and a climate conference broke out. Besides the federal government announcing at COP28 it plans to put an emissions cap on Canada’s oil and gas sector, the feds also targeted methane reductions.

And then the cheeky devils in the activist ranks at the UN conference gave Alberta the “Fossil of the Day” award — a satiric prize awarded, usually to a national government, to the entity doing the most to oppose fighting climate change.

Finally, the nearly 200-nation conference in the oil capital of Dubai agreed the time was right to begin transitioning away from fossil fuels, although the full meaning of the 10,000-word declaration will undoubtedly be debated in the weeks to come.

It must have been a nightmare at times for Smith — although she painted the ultimate communiqué as a victory for common sense oil producers such as Alberta.

But take this quote from her news release, jointly issued with Environment and Protected Areas Minister Rebecca Schulz upon her return from Dubai: “Although (federal Environment and Climate Minister Steven Guilbeault) ultimately failed in his ambitions to include language in the final COP28 agreement regarding the elimination of oil and gas production, Albertans will not forget his continued treachery against our province and millions of other Canadians.”

She called for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to fire the one-time Greenpeace activist.

But consider the following if you’re an Albertan worried about climate issues:

What if you don’t like seeing huge swaths of forest burning up, with massive plumes of acrid smoke carrying carbon skyward and settling in over Alberta’s cities? Alberta burned, on average, 190,000 hectares per year from 2018 to 2022. In 2023, that jumped to 2.2 million hectares — a more than 10-fold increase.

To Smith, this had nothing to do with climate change. The premier is sadly uninformed.

Do you enjoy the classic Alberta pastime of fishing for trout in the streams of the Eastern Slopes? Do you remember that for many days this past summer, the government issued warnings not to fish past 2 p.m. because water temperatures warmed to the point where the trout were threatened?

To #Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, swaths of forest burning up, with plumes of acrid smoke carrying carbon skyward and settling in over her province's cities, have nothing to do with climate change, writes Bill Doskoch @billdinYEG #COP28 #abpoli

Calgary’s Bow River, one of the world’s great trout fisheries, saw its flow rate at about half its historical norm this summer. It’s a glacier-fed river, and glaciers are under serious threat from climate change.

Drought worries extend to the fields and pastures. The government has said the situation in many parts of the province is Stage 4. What’s an emergency? Stage 5, where, among other things, there is significant risk to “human health and safety due to insufficient water supply.” With a bone-dry November and above-normal temperatures, a serious drought is in the forecast for 2024.

Sorry to tell you this, farmers and ranchers, but decade after decade, for the foreseeable future, it’s quite likely to get progressively worse — all because we’re addicted to fossil fuels.

When oil was first discovered, it was a blessing. It helped power industry and people, giving us a disproportionately high standard of living in Alberta. But all that once-buried fuel is ending up in our atmosphere, making it trap more heat and leading to all sorts of problems that will not only be expensive, but potentially dangerous and unsolvable.

This climate conference was the first to really tackle the potential phaseout of fossil fuels in its final communiqué. About 100 countries wanted language that talked of a phaseout of fossil fuels but couldn’t get it past a determined bloc of oil producers (UN communiqués must be unanimous).

Those who pushed for a phaseout will be judged to have been on the right side of history. This side will include Guilbeault. Canada wanted strong language regarding the transition.

The fossils on the wrong side? Step forward, Danielle Smith-led Alberta. You won your award fair and square. Wear it.

Bill Doskoch is a retired journalist living in Edmonton with a strong interest in climate issues. He likes trout fishing in Alberta’s Foothills.

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It should be remembered that Guilbeault was against language about phasing out fossil fuels until the final hours of COP 27. Smith is awful for climate, but the Liberal/NDP coalition is in charge and they are not coming close to following the science. Their rhetoric is better than Smith's, but their policy is not much different.

It's actually very different.
Even if the National Post is working hard to undermine all climate initiatives put forth by the Liberal govt. backed by NDP support.
That is why Danielle is literally always squawking about new federal regulations an policy initiatives as if it was the end of fossil fuels.
Not yet, but they are on notice finally.

The Liberals may not satisfy u but wait to Poilievre gets in and see any and all regulations vanish, poof!

Danielle Smith works for oil & gas only and one day Albertans will wake one day to that fact that she talks the talk about Albertans, but delivered nothing of benefit. Smith will allow oil & gas to rape, pillage and plunder the province and leave the Albertan tax payers the bill.

Actually, I think she and all of like mind that follow will perform their very best hyperventilation act to demand the feds (i.e. all Canadian taxpayers) to pony up for cleaning up Alberta's mess. I'm sure several other provinces will have something to say about that, the most feared being Quebec.

It could evolve that the inevitable verbal backlash by Quebec -- likely joined by BC and probably Manitoba, PEI, Nfld and Ontario under another government -- will drown out Alberta's chronic whining at the same time its economy enters a period of decline tied to a decline in oil demand.

The cleanup is industry's and Alberta's sole responsibility, but fighting and adapting to climate change is everyone's. Shirk the latter and you'll pay much more later because responsibility is deep seated and diverse.

As an Albertan my fellow Albertans don't have brains or the guts to wakeup

Pure poetry!
The Pierre Poilievre and Stephen Harper endorsed Danielle Smith is a fanatical fossil fuel clown that is an utter embarrassment on he world stage. I congratulate her on the well deserved COP28 "Fossil of the Day" award that she earned. Couldn't have been awarded to a more a fossilized thinker and chronic complainer.

"The fossils on the wrong side? Step forward, Danielle Smith-led Alberta."

Or Rachel Notley-led Alberta. Under the NDP Pipeline Queen, the results would be much the same. The O&G industry has captured both sides of the Alberta legislature. Unlike the UCP, the AB NDP actually get pipelines built.
Be generous, Danielle. Share your “Fossil of the Day” award with the AB NDP.

P.S. Albertans are holding their breath for Notley to announce her retirement from politics. Suncor's board has a seat waiting.

Anyone wanna coax former Alberta Liberal leader Kevin Taft out of retirement? In 2015 he wrote a book entitled 'Oil's Deep State'. I can't think of any other politician who spoke so elegantly and intelligently in a major, well-referenced critique of his province's most important industry.

Notley = Pipeline Queen. From BC's perspective, you nailed it.

With leaking tailing ponds and the invention of the APP, not knowing what the people of Fort McMurry are going to do this Christmas I have little interest in what this women has to say.
Even less now that I am most of the way through Fire Weather, by John Vaillant.

Then try fiction The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace Wells and on fiction Nomad Century by Gaia Vince. John Vaillant was excellent

Every Albertan should read Fire Weather-The Making of A Beast by John Vaillant. As long as people keep electing the likes of Danielle Smith, Scott Moe, Doug Ford and Blaine Higgs the climate disasters caused by big oil, such as the Fort McMurray fire of 2016, will become near annual events.

Totally agree with all that's said here. Fire Weather IS excellent. I'd also recommend following desmog.com, which is American but has Geoff Dembicki who wrote "The Petroleum Papers" writing for them.
I gave Rachel one last chance to own up to missing the moment big-time during the provincial election in the year-end interview she did with Graham Thomson on the Tyee, but she refused to take responsibility. So I've lost some respect there but will of course still vote for them again absent other options.
Regrettably, I'm afraid we're still not ready for a woman leader who can win, but can't see any men in the provincial NDP wings that jump out as being capable of what's needed now, "a bastard for progressivism."
Kevin Taft has written a good book for sure but I think he lacks the energy that's needed. I heard him speak on his book tour a few years ago and he also lacks charisma.
I'm now watching for the federal NDP to give credit where it's due on this magical agreement that's saving the day, thereby mitigating their tribal, holier-than-thou attitude. There IS an undeniable tinge of religion that still lingers with the NDP that the Liberals don't have. Too precious by half. But I'm not holding my breath.