Minister Wilkinson’s Statement Regarding the Canada Energy Regulator’s First Long-Term Outlook Modelling Net-Zero by 2050 in Canada
June 20, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, issued the following statement today:
I would like to thank the Canada Energy Regulator for the 2023 edition of Canada’s Energy Future (EF2023), the CER’s first long-term energy outlook consistent with achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
As the world accelerates climate action, Canada faces a choice: we can either lead in seizing the historic economic opportunities associated with building a global net-zero economy, or we can let them pass us by, with all the attendant consequences of being a late mover.
I strongly believe that Canada must lead: we must build a net-zero economy, underpinned by a clean electricity system, while exporting our clean technologies and resources to the world. This will enable emissions reductions at home and abroad while creating good jobs across Canada.
That is why, in December 2021, I requested that the CER produce a report that would undertake a scenario analysis consistent with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and with Canada achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. This report was to include modelled scenarios relating to the supply and demand of all energy commodities. EF2023 is the result of that request. This report is similar in nature to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Net Zero by 2050 roadmap for the Global Energy Sector issued in May 2021.
With regard to the content of the CER’s report, we cannot predict the future with complete certainty, but clearly we must equip ourselves with the best available information to inform thoughtful decision-making. The scenarios presented in this report make an important contribution to the available information base.
To account for a broad range of possible future circumstances, EF2023 outlines three potential scenarios:
- A future where Canada and the world fail to meet their climate objectives;
- A future where Canada and the vast majority of the developed world achieve net zero by 2050 but some large developing countries achieve net zero slightly later. This scenario, which is consistent with countries’ announced climate pledges and the IEA’s Announced Pledges scenario, foresees a 1.7°C rise in the global average temperature; and
- A future where Canada and the world collectively achieve net-zero, capping global temperature rise at 1.5°C.
In both scenarios where Canada achieves net zero by 2050, the CER projects that Canada’s energy landscape will see a growth in clean, affordable energy. This could include everything from electricity generation from sources like wind and hydro power to the use of affordable technologies like electric vehicles and heat pumps.
EF2023 is now one of the many inputs that can help to inform decision making across the country. Indigenous, municipal, provincial and territorial governments, as well as the federal government, will have access to this public report to inform decisions they make regarding energy in the years to come; the same is true for businesses, workers and civil society.
As the world builds a net-zero economy, Canada’s low-carbon resources and technologies will be in demand. This report helps us understand where opportunities will emerge from a sectoral perspective in the years to come. For example, the rise of clean electricity generation, biomass, and hydrogen as opportunities for domestic use and international export are made clear in this report, as is the importance of emissions-reductions technologies such as carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS).
This report also helps us understand the impact that decisions made elsewhere in the world will have on our domestic oil and gas industry. Just as the IEA’s Net Zero by 2050 report, it underlines the fact that global demand for oil, for example, will begin to decline within the next number of years as zero-emissions transportation technologies are deployed in greater number. This will drive a focus on diversification efforts relating to hydrogen, critical minerals and biofuels, among others, and will put additional emphasis on the drive to decarbonize Canada’s oil and gas production to enable our conventional energy sectors to provide lower-carbon products to a market that will increasingly value life-cycle carbon emissions.
I would like to thank the CER for its thoughtful report, and I look forward to continuing my work with partners across the country in growing our economy and reducing emissions.
Natural Resources Canada
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources
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