Image by John O'Nolan

Canadian tech aims for net zero

Canada has made ambitious promises to improving and sustaining the global climate in keeping with its signature of the Paris Accord in 2015. The target set within the country is to exceed 2030 emission targets and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

TCA is actively interested in net zero endeavours in the Canadian tech context. We’re aligned with Global Tech Advocates, TCA’s parent organization, which has launched a Tech for Net Zero Resource Hub. Contact us if you’re interested in getting involved in Canadian initiatives!

 

Read on for a summary of the current situation in Canada with regard to the tech sector’s efforts toward achieving net zero.

Image by Dan Meyers

The Government of Canada’s proposed Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act on Clean Growth and Climate Change will formalize Canada’s 2050 target and establish a series of interim emissions reduction targets at five-year milestones towards that goal. 

The Government of Canada’s Net Zero Accelerator initiative supports Canada’s net zero goals to help transform the economy toward clean technologies and long-term growth. This initiative will provide up to $8 billion in support of projects that will enable Canada to reduce its domestic greenhouse gas emissions.

Strategic engagement with the USA, our largest trading partner, will be critical to achieving net zero. Key opportunities include:

Currently, the energy system is responsible for more than 80% of Canada’s GHG emissions. Significant reductions in emissions will be required across the country’s energy system and economy in order to reach net zero emissions. This will involve major changes to the everyday lifestyles of average Canadians.

As well, Canada’s industrial base is heavily reliant on fossil fuels for the bulk of its energy. Cutting down emissions will be particularly difficult for carbon-heavy sectors such as oil and gas, cement, steel, freight, aviation, and chemical manufacturing. Canada aims to support the green transformation of key industrial sectors, such as automotive, aerospace and agriculture and agri-food, and to take advantage of a global shift in demand for innovative, net-zero technologies to develop and grow a strong clean tech sector. 

In the oil and gas sector, some companies are aiming to diversify and invest in clean technologies such as solar and wind power.

In the transportation sector, road transportation is a major greenhouse gas emitter because of the vastness of the land. Reducing emissions can be achieved by improving fuel efficiency through the application of emission standards for light duty vehicles and heavy trucking segments, as well as through electrification and the use of alternative fuel sources. As Canadians begin to drive more electrical vehicles, charging stations will need to be set up across the grid, which will require strategic upgrades to meet these new loads. 

In the aviation sector, electrification may be less feasible due to the range limitations of current battery technologies and their heavy weight. According to the Canadian technical report by SNC-Lavalin, an alternative solution that can more easily be phased in is the use of net zero synthetic jet fuel. Unlike traditional jet fuel, the production process of synthetic fuels absorbs CO₂, leading to an overall reduction in CO₂ emissions. 

Clean technology exports, such as biofuels, are already showing promising trends. Between 2014 and 2019, clean technology exports grew by a rate of 9.7% annually.