MEDIA RELEASE: Experts Push for Aggressive Decarbonization to Reach Net-Zero
Canada, March 16, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — March 16, 2022 (Ottawa) – The Public Policy Forum and McCarthy Tétrault LLP today released the Leadership Blueprint, an energy transition strategy to meet Canada’s climate goals. Built from two years of engagement with environmental, business and Indigenous stakeholders, the Blueprint concludes an aggressive decarbonization strategy is the most pragmatic route to net zero in the energy production sector.
“Climate action is non-negotiable. Net zero is non-negotiable,” said Edward Greenspon, president and CEO of the Public Policy Forum. “But we are stuck between two competing visions of the how – accelerated phaseout of fossil fuels vs. aggressive decarbonization. The debate is costing us valuable time. We need to pick an energy transition lane that allows us to move forward as a nation, and build on exports, our strong innovation record and good global citizenship.”
Aggressive decarbonization focuses on reducing GHG emissions from fossil fuel production. Rather than risk reducing production too quickly – a situation that would result in price shocks when supply fails to meet demand – oil and gas production would ramp down in parallel with demand. The industry would sink or swim with its ability to reduce emissions through processes such as carbon capture utilization and storage, direct air capture, switching to clean energy sources and further developing hydrogen.
“Rather than a switch to be turned off, the energy transition is more like a dial,” said Wayne Wouters, strategic and policy advisor at McCarthy Tétrault. “Move too slowly and we miss targets. Move too quickly and we risk economic and social instability.”
The report argues that aggressive decarbonization avoids the price shocks or energy shortages seen in places like Germany where energy systems have been phased down before new ones are firmly established. While encouraging progress has been made on renewable technologies, the report notes they are not yet ready to provide dependable base power, nor do they have the energy intensity required for critical industries such as steelmaking.
The report also notes that Canada has an abundance of natural gas. Ongoing production and export of this critical resource will allow Canada to help other nations stop consuming coal. It can also contribute to the production of hydrogen as a clean energy source for Canada and the world.
The Blueprint puts forward calls to action in areas of environment, economy and Indigenous reconciliation to ensure measurable and accountable commitments to net zero. Emissions would have to be put on a downward slope in the 2020s. The report recommends a full-on public-private partnership approach to create the necessary incentives and financial capital necessary to pull off the monumental energy transition required in the relatively short timeframe available.
Vice-President, Marketing, Communications and Events
Public Policy Forum
About The Public Policy Forum
The Public Policy Forum builds bridges among diverse participants in the policy-making process and gives them a platform to examine issues, offer new perspectives and feed fresh ideas into critical policy discussions. We contribute by conducting research on critical issues, convening candid dialogues on research subjects and recognizing exceptional leaders. PPF is an independent, non-partisan charity, whose members are a diverse group of private, public and non-profit organizations.
About McCarthy Tétrault
McCarthy Tétrault is a Canadian law firm that offers a full suite of legal and business solutions to clients in Canada and around the world. We deliver integrated business, litigation, tax, real property, and labour and employment law services through our offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, New York and London, U.K. Our industry expertise and cross-practice, collaborative platform ensure we help build our clients’ competitive advantage.