Government of Canada Releases Carbon Management Strategy
In an effort to achieve its ambitious environmental and climate change targets, the Government of Canada has released Canada’s Carbon Management Strategy.
According to the Strategy, Carbon management encompasses a range of approaches to capture carbon dioxide from point sources or the atmosphere to be reused or durably stored. This includes but is not limited to CCUS technologies that mitigate point-source emissions and carbon dioxide removal approaches. These management practices are considered a critical piece of global climate action, as according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the International Energy Agency, there is no credible path to net-zero emissions without carbon management technologies, and their deployment must be rapid and immense, scaling up by over 200 times by 2050.
Although the Government of Canada considers carbon management technologies a critical emission reduction tool for many sectors, especially upstream oil and gas, cement, iron and steel, and chemicals, it is not limited there. The ambition is for Canada to scale up solutions that permanently remove emissions from the atmosphere since some residual emissions are likely to remain despite aggressive mitigation efforts, including in agriculture.
With this consideration in mind, the vision of the Strategy is to deploy carbon management technologies to achieve Canada’s preestablished climate objectives and develop a world-class, multi-billion-dollar national carbon management solution that supports inclusive, high-value employment, and a more sustainable economy.
Through a targeted approach that will be focused on technology-enabled carbon management and recognizes the importance of nature-based solutions, the five Strategy priorities are:
Accelerating innovation and RD&D
Advancing policies and regulations
Attracting investment and trade opportunities
Scaling up projects and infrastructure
Building partnerships and growing inclusive workforces
Canada’s Carbon Management Advantage
As demonstrated in the Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy and additional strategies where the federal government is seeking a new opportunity in the climate and natural resource sector, there has been an analyzed Canadian advantage for progressing the industry. For the carbon management sector, the federal government believes that Canada has an enviable early advantage and is positioned to capitalize globally due to its expertise, wealth of favourable CO2 storage geology, and leading innovators.
Overview of Strategy Priorities
Accelerating Innovation and RD&D Through this priority, the Government of Canada aims to develop, scale up, and improve the commercial viability of carbon management technologies across sectors; advance the geological science required to further quantify and develop Canada’s CO2 storage potential; and inform future regulatory developments. Future actions to achieve this objective include advancing research, development, and demonstration for early state CDR technologies; lowering carbon capture costs; advancing carbon utilization opportunities; and developing codes, standards, and geotechnical mapping across Canada.
Advancing Policies and Regulations The federal government aims to ensure that evidence-based regulatory frameworks underpin safe and responsible development of carbon management technologies; take a collaborative approach that recognizes federal and provincial/territorial responsibilities; and work with global partners to advance codes and standards that promote international alignment and evolve as the carbon management industry grows. To achieve this objective, there will be a continuation of the adaptive approach to support the carbon management industry as it grows, a contribution towards market demand for low-carbon products through government procurement, and a continuation of support for the development of codes, standards, and regulations to enable the safe deployment of carbon management solutions.
Attracting Investment and Trade Opportunities The federal government is seeking to continue to expand Canada’s opportunities to capitalize on foreign investment as international competition grows. To achieve this objective, future actions from the federal government will continue to incentivize carbon management investment and use of government procurement policies to create supportive lead markets for carbon management-enabled products. One potential means of doing so will be Canada offering project investment opportunities that have a competitive cost per tonne of CO2 sequestration and exploring the promising opportunities for emerging carbon management solutions in Canada’s strong forestry, agriculture, and minerals sector.
Scaling up Projects and Infrastructure The federal government aims to ensure that Canada develops and deploys the carbon management projects and infrastructure needed to achieve targeted emission reductions. To achieve this objective, the federal government will continue to increase collaboration with the private sector to explore blended finance options and alternative financing tools to support strategic investment in key industrial sectors; spur large-scale projects; and advance hub development.
Building Partnerships and Growing Inclusive Workforces The federal government is seeking to build a diverse and inclusive workforce in the carbon management industry that leverages existing skill sets and offers new opportunities that contribute to the resilience and competitiveness of Canada’s natural resources labour force. Future actions to achieve this objective include identifying workforce gaps and regional opportunities to foster diversity and inclusion in the carbon management sector and advancing Indigenous leadership and participation.
The Government of Canada has intended for this Strategy to be forward-looking and long-term. From their analysis, its successful implementation will require a coordinated and multi-pronged approach in collaboration with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, the private sector, Indigenous groups, and other strategic partners.
Initial Reactions to the Strategy
Although just released, reactions to the Strategy have been mixed. For environmentalists, concerns have been voiced regarding the perceived risky approach on developing technologies that are being promoted by the oil and gas industry, the overall deficiency of functioning CCUS commercial projects, and the potential public safety risks of carbon capture infrastructure. For industry, the Strategy has been perceived to lack tangibility and the necessary capital to ensure that the technologies will be commercially viable, scalable, and accessible in implementation.