Reducing energy consumption is key for Canada to meet its climate goals, a former scientist says in a report.
Canada’s mid-century plan to absorb the same amount of carbon pollution it emits is “far from” strong enough to have a realistic chance of success, says a new report assessing the country’s climate change efforts. the author stated.
The report, released Thursday by the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), is part of the Canadian Energy Regulator’s (CER) 2023 June 2023 forecast for energy supply as Canada aims to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Analyzing the plan for the month.
The plan includes cutting oil and gas production by 21 to 75 percent, increasing renewable electricity generation by up to 12 times and nearly tripling nuclear power capacity.
But David Hughes, author of the CCPA report, said these measures were not enough. Hughes found that with policies currently in place, Canada’s emissions will remain 16 per cent below 2022 levels by 2050.
“Current policies are woefully inadequate,” Hughes said in an interview.
Hughes, a former scientist and research manager at the Geological Survey of Canada who now analyzes the oil and gas industry, said the CER program relies heavily on technologies such as small nuclear reactors and initial technology that could increase up to 5,600 times more. He said that Captures carbon directly from the atmosphere.
Both have so far shown slowing growth and rising costs, with CER’s “overreliance” on carbon capture technology “probably the weakest part” of the plan, Hughes said.
“With CER projecting a high share of fossil fuels in 2050, large scale increases in carbon capture and storage will be required to offset emissions, significantly increasing the risk that net zero will not be achieved. ”, the report concludes.
Meanwhile, CER’s plans include the construction of new oil and gas infrastructure, including a Canadian LNG export terminal that is expected to last at least 40 years, increasing the risk that Canada will not meet its 2050 emissions reduction targets. There is.
Similarly, Hughes concluded that plans to triple the carbon absorption capacity of Canada’s forests will require “significant improvements in Canada’s forest management practices.” According to the federal government, Canada’s forests have emitted more carbon than they absorb for more than 20 years.
“The general assumption is that this will come with the energy transition. [from fossil fuels to] In our quest for green growth, we’re just going to trade one thing for another and be happy,” Hughes said. “Nothing like that has ever happened in human history.”
“I think that assumption is very optimistic.”
Hughes said Canada must become more ambitious as it seeks to transition from fossil fuels to green energy. But achieving the 2050 target will require greater focus on reducing energy consumption, Hughes said.
On a per capita basis, Canadians consume 4.9 times more energy than the global average and produce three times more emissions than the global average. Reducing energy use and increasing efficiency “is actually a low-hanging fruit,” he said.
“There are a lot of things we can do to make sure it doesn’t impact people’s lifestyles as much,” Hughes said.
“It’s like public transportation.”