Climate change leadership

Corporate Responsibility

Climate change leadership

The world needs more Canadian energy

Canada’s crude oil and natural gas resources are safely and responsibly developed with world-leading standards, under comprehensive regulatory oversight and emissions regulations, and significant technology investments. Canada is well positioned to be a global leader in supplying these resources in a lower carbon emissions future. We believe that an effective approach to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions management relies on strong environmental policy and regulation, innovation and technology.

Collaboration is essential to achieving long-term emissions reductions. Canadian Natural continues to work together with industry, government and stakeholders to encourage technological innovation, energy efficiency and targeted R&D as methods of maintaining a competitive oil and natural gas sector. In 2021, Canadian Natural, along with Canada’s largest oil sands producers, established an unprecedented alliance called the Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero initiative. The goal of this alliance, working collectively with the Federal and Alberta governments, is to achieve net zero GHG emissions from oil sands operations by 2050 to help Canada meet its climate goals, including its Paris Agreement commitments and 2050 net zero aspirations. Members of the Pathways alliance will focus on finding and implementing workable solutions to achieve GHG emissions reductions, while also ensuring the oil sands industry continues to provide sustainable long-term economic and social benefits for Canadians.

Canadian leadership on climate change

The Government of Canada’s commitments to reducing GHG emissions, along with climate frameworks in several Canadian jurisdictions, positions our country as among the most responsible crude oil and natural gas producing jurisdictions globally. Canadian Natural supports Canada’s leadership in the Paris Agreement as a pathway to reduce emissions and drive innovation. We also support federal and provincial government goals to reduce methane emissions by 45% by 2025.

Canadian Natural and the Canadian crude oil and natural gas sector are delivering game-changing environmental performance. We recognized the need to reduce GHG emissions, leveraging technology and Canadian ingenuity to deliver results, and will continue to do so. 

Canadian Natural and companies in our sector have a range of potential technology pathways to deliver GHG reductions as part of adapting to lower carbon emissions futures. Carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) is an important technology solution that helps set Canada on a pathway to net zero emissions in the oil sands.

Leading performance

Canadian Natural has developed a pathway to reduce emissions intensity below the global crude average. Our integrated GHG emissions management strategy includes CCUS projects, methane reduction projects, natural gas production and further advancements in technology. Leveraging technology and innovation have led to significant reductions in Canadian Natural’s GHG emissions. Learn more about our leading performance and long-term programs that are driving GHG reductions in our sustainability report.

Resiliency of Canadian Natural's strategy

As part of evaluating climate change related risk and opportunities, Canadian Natural reviews independent external scenario analyses developed by energy firms and agencies representing a range of hypothetical paths of development through to 2050.

These external scenario analyses are a tool used to support business planning and identification of risks and opportunities. As part of this process, Canadian Natural considers a number of variables and assumptions related to markets, commodity prices, policy, regulation, technology development, energy efficiency and reputation, and incorporates a range of assumptions for lower carbon emissions environments. This process has influenced our investments in CCUS projects, including the potential use of molten carbonate fuel cells, a promising carbon capture technology and viable solution to reduce emissions while generating electricity. We have also identified valuable opportunities for lower carbon emissions products and support for renewable energy, such as using biodiesel in our haul trucks and the potential use of renewable energy for our facilities.

As the world evolves toward a lower carbon emissions energy system, we expect there will be less carbon intensive ways of producing and consuming crude oil and natural gas. Across the range of ambitious climate change scenarios, the expectation is that there will be substantial global production and consumption of crude oil and natural gas for decades to come. The IEA 2020 Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS) is a stringent climate scenario aligned with the Paris Agreement to hold rise in global temperature to well below 2°C and limit global temperature increases to 1.5°C. According to the IEA SDS, crude oil demand would be close to 65 million barrels per day by 2040 from 2019 levels of approximately 100 million barrels per day. While global demand was impacted in 2020 and 2021, the expectation is that crude oil and natural gas remains an important part of the global energy mix for the foreseeable future.

In addition, global demand for natural gas is generally expected to grow through 2030 and continue to be an important source of energy and a way to significantly lower global GHG emissions. Natural gas is an integral part of Canadian Natural’s plan and the pathway to a lower carbon emissions future. As one of the largest natural gas producers in Canada, natural gas assets deliver improved environmental performance as a clean burning hydrocarbon.

Canadian Natural’s balanced portfolio of light, synthetic, and heavy crude oil and natural gas represents one of the strongest and most diverse asset portfolios of any energy producer in the world. The strength of our assets, along with our integrated GHG emissions management strategy, helps to mitigate climate change risks to our reserves.