Carbon Capture is a Win-Win for Canadians & the Global Environment

Canada Carbon Capture Opportunity

At a time when the world needs reliable, affordable and responsibly produced energy more than ever, Canadian oil and gas producers are rising to meet the challenge. 

What’s impressive is that these companies produce energy with environmental excellence as a top priority. Our oil and gas industry continues to make every effort possible to provide the world with the energy it needs and is committed to doing so with the lowest environmental impact possible.

Canada’s efforts to reduce emissions in the energy sector are exemplified by our nation’s global leadership in CCUS. Today, with just 0.5 per cent of the world’s population, Canada’s four existing projects account for 15 per cent of major carbon capture facilities.

There have been huge strides made in carbon capture, storage, and utilization (CCUS) technologies in recent years. Companies are finding bold and innovative new ways to produce oil and gas which allows harmful emissions to be captured and stored or recycled.

Canadian energy is blazing the trail with the implementation of such new technologies.

Hence, Canada can continue to provide the world with the oil and gas needed to power global economies while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with that energy production. In addition, through the continued development of new cleantech and innovation in the carbon capture sector, our nation can solidify its place as a global leader in CCUS.

And given the economic prospects of a flourishing CCUS sector, carbon capture is a win-win for both Canadians AND the global environment.

Global CCUS Investment

Canadian carbon capture necessary for energy transition - Fatih Birol

In the past, carbon capture technology was considered too expensive to implement on an industrial scale. However, just like renewables today, CCUS has become a lot more affordable as new sector-specific cleantech and innovations are developed and applied.

The emerging industry is a viable option to help reduce global GHG emissions says Bill Gates, who needs no introduction.

“This industry is at the very, very beginning, but it’s a necessary piece for the tail of emissions,” said the philanthropic billionaire in an interview with TED in 2021.

“Carbon capture is for the part that you can’t solve any other way. It’s kind of the brute-force piece… it would be fantastic to take the final 10 to 15 per cent of emissions and… just do this direct air capture,” Gates added.

For CCUS to be a practical and effective part of climate action, the sector will require trillions of dollars of investment over the next several decades. According to some sources, the world will need about 50,000 carbon-capture plants by 2050, amounting to roughly $10 trillion of capital investment.

Attracting even a fraction of that sum would be a massive economic opportunity well within reach of Canadians!

Captured carbon dioxide (CO2) can be used to make several products including plastics, fuels, chemicals, concrete and graphene to name a few. CO2 is also used in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques which pump the gas into the ground to store permanently while forcing out hydrocarbons in return.

The future of CCUS is so promising that other big players around the globe are also taking note. Famous billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk committed $100,000,000 USD for any company that can implement similar solutions for his products, and he’s already awarded some of the funds to Canadian researchers.

Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has time and time again reiterated the importance of carbon capture in the coming energy transition.

“Carbon capture is critical for ensuring our transitions to clean energy are secure and sustainable,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director in a 2020 press release.

“Action from governments will be essential for establishing a sustainable and viable market for CCUS,” Dr. Birol continued. “But industry must also embrace the opportunity. No sector will be unaffected by clean energy transitions – and for some, including heavy industry, the value of CCUS is inescapable.”

Carbon Capture Naysayers

CCUS in Canada - Bill Gates Quote on Carbon Capture

Canada’s government has rightly recognized the opportunity that economically sound green technology presents for our nation and has implemented a tax credit to reward green innovation. The tax credit encourages Canadian energy producers to continue innovating and reducing their emissions through means such as CCUS.

However, a group of anti-pipeline academics are taking action to oppose the tax credit while actively lobbying our federal government to stop encouraging innovation. They protest the very oil and gas industry which has generated over a half-trillion dollars for our governments since 2000 and is responsible for nearly $2 trillion in exports since 1988.

It's odd to think about how some of these academics oppose the very industry that has generated substantial revenues for Canadian governments, funds which in turn are used to pay for things such as roads, hospitals and universities - and the jobs that make them all possible.

It is also surprising to see these academics take action against an emerging technology like carbon capture and storage which, according to Mr. Gates, has the potential to sequester “…the final 10 to 15 per cent of emissions…" required to prevent dangerous levels of global warming.

We would expect these academics to put aside their NGO alliances and enthusiastically encourage emission reduction technologies. After all, the development of Canada’s carbon capture sector would be a very good thing for both Canadians AND the global environment. Heck, it would probably be a good thing for Canadian academics as well given the potential for more government revenues to be generated by a flourishing CCUS industry.

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Canada’s leadership in reducing emissions via methods such as CCUS means we should be a global energy supplier of choice!

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