Net-zero carbon emissions target a ‘moon shot,’ says natural resources minister

Net-zero carbon emissions target a ‘moon shot,’ says natural resources minister

CALGARY — Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan says achieving the Trudeau government’s target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 is a “moon shot” — but it’s not a case of randomly throwing out ideas.

During last fall’s election campaign, the federal Liberals committed to the goal which means that any greenhouse gases still produced in Canada in 2050 would have to be offset with credits — but Ottawa has yet to give details on how that might be achieved.

In a wide-ranging online conversation with Peter Tertzakian and Jackie Forrest of Calgary’s ARC Energy Research Institute, O’Regan compared the net zero ambition to former U.S. president John F. Kennedy’s vow in May 1961 to put a man on the moon.

He added that specific goal gave the experts permission to find solutions and, in July 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk on the moon.

O’Regan says the Canadian government is looking at all potential solutions to reduce carbon emissions, including using carbon capture and storage and employing hydrogen, geothermal and small modular nuclear reactors as alternative sources of energy.

He defended Ottawa’s record on providing aid to the oil and gas sector during the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, noting its wage subsidies and program to retire inactive oil and gas wells have been well subscribed, and suggesting companies are still evaluating its less popular loan programs.

“Net zero is a moon shot and a moon shot is not the same as just throwing ideas out there and seeing what sticks,” O’Regan said.

“A moon shot is a very specific goal — Kennedy said we’re going to get to the moon. And then afterwards the teams at NASA had to figure out how to do it.

“And by 1969, they had a man on the moon. If we could do it in eight years that would be great.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 22, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Central zone has 20 active cases of COVID-19

Province identified 143 new cases across Alberta on Wednesday

Sylvan Lake Municipal Library going waste free with new program

The Zero Waste DIY program begins on Sept. 26 at 2 p.m. on Zoom

COVID-19: Active cases in central zone up Tuesday

Central zone active cases remains lowest of all zones

PHOTOS: Eckville graduates receive their diplomas, finally

Eckville Jr./Sr. High School held a socially distanced grad over the weekend

Central zone active cases down to 20

Province provides update

Liberals vow wage-subsidy extension to 2021, revamp of EI system in throne speech

Canadian labour market was hammered by pandemic, when lockdowns in the spring led to a loss of 3 million jobs

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Grand jury indicts police officer in Breonna Taylor death

Officer Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment

Missionary plane dedicated at Ponoka, Lacombe airports

MiracleAir flies humanitarian missions to Nicaragua

RCMP investigating after far-right groups disrupt anti-racism rally in Alberta

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer said she respects the right of peaceful assembly, but denounces racism and violence

Refresh of Liberal government’s agenda comes amid new looming COVID-19 crisis

Lockdowns saw fed spending soar to historic levels in effort to offset pandemic’s blow to Canadians’ livelihoods

Public health officials urge Canadians to limit contacts again as COVID-19 cases rise

Canada has committed $1 billion to buy at least 154 million doses of vaccines from five different companies

Majority of Canadians support wearing masks during COVID-19, oppose protests: poll

Nearly 90 per cent felt wearing a mask was a civic duty because it protects others from COVID-19

Most Read