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Capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) for a successful energy transition

Wednesday, May 20, 5:58 pm - 6:03 pm

Head of Mission (HOM) closing remarks for the virtual event on “Canada’s Negative Emission Technologies & CCUS”

Ladies and gentlemen, Mesdames et messieurs, chers amis du Canada.

To an audience as well informed as this one, I will not have to explain that current trends would lead to global warming of 3°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100, with continued warming thereafter, a world we do not want for generations to come.

To keep the global increase in average temperature to less than the 2°C limit that scientists warn us about, the world needs to change path. It needs to reach net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2070. Almost all developed countries have pledged to take the lead in reaching it by 2050. But 2050, this is only 29 years away, a very short time for such an ambitious goal.

Energy provided from fossil fuel combustion is by far the largest source of GHG emissions. Coal, oil and natural gas enabled the global industrial revolution and despite our best efforts, they continue to provide over 80% of the world's energy consumption, a ratio that has not really budged since 1990. A complete replacement of fossil fuels with zero emission energy by 2050 for our countries, and 2070 for the world, may be unrealistic, but then, if it is, our net-zero emission target cannot be achieved without carbon capture.

The International Energy Agency is of the view that Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) will provide nearly 15% of the cumulative reduction in emissions to reach carbon neutrality for 2070. In this net-zero pathways, the need for CO2 storage grows from around 40 metric tons/year in 2020 to 10,400 metric tons/year by 2070. CO2 is captured in the power sector, heavy industry, hydrogen, ammonia and biofuel production, and also removed through direct air capture. (International Energy Agency, Energy Technology Perspectives, Special Report on Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage: CCUS in clean energy transitions”)

It will take intense cooperation between our countries for this technology to reach such a large-scale deployment in such a short time.

After three days of presentations on Canadian projects and technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from industrial and mining processes, you have heard how much Canada can contribute in this regard. It is very substantial.

I would like to thank the Canadian Embassy in Switzerland for setting up this great seminar and all the speakers for having made clear how Canada became a global leader in carbon capture, storage and utilisation. Of course, I want to thank you, the audience, for your interest. I want to tell you that all Canadian companies and researchers who presented the past three days are open to do research and business. They are looking for European partners.

We have seen that there is a lot of research and investments already going on, but much more is required to realise the full potential of CCUS and negative emission technologies. The federal government of Canada as well as our provincial governments will continue to create the best possible regulatory framework for research and business, and provide financial support for innovation. The recently published Canadian Federal Hydrogen Strategy, our national Clean Fuel Standard and our carbon pricing policy have created a strong momentum across sectors.

So the time is now! There is quite some opportunity for Europeans to build fruitful partnerships with Canadians – don’t miss out!

How to get in touch? Please connect with the Canadian Trade Commissioner in your country and benefit from first hand information and contacts, as well as guidance on how your organisation can get in touch with the leading players in Canada. Mister Hauke Harms, Trade Commissioner in Switzerland will be happy to connect you to the Canadian trade and innovation representatives responsible for your region.

We need to make CCUS and negative emission technologies a key pillar for a successful clean energy transition. The government of Canada will pay a lot of interest to your work and the follow up of this Negative Emission Technologies & CCUS – Virtual Tour 2021. No pressure !

Thank you, Danke schön, merci du fond du coeur.

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