Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan says Canada will join the United States in establishing a platform for oil and gas producing countries to figure out how the sector can support implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
Dubbed the Net-Zero Producers’ Forum, it is intended to develop emission reduction strategies and would include Canada, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United States, collectively accounting for about 40% of global oil and gas production, The Canadian Press reports.
It is to discuss ways to reduce methane emissions, advance what it calls a “circular” carbon economy, develop and deploy clean energy and carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) technologies, and diversify economies from reliance on hydrocarbon revenues.
The forum was under development in parallel with the Leaders’ Summit on Climate hosted virtually by U.S. President Joe Biden last week.
Biden announced Thursday that the U.S. would cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 52% compared with 2005 levels by 2030, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed Canada would slash its GHGs by 40 to 45% over the same period. Those targets were called “extremely aggressive” by Precision Drilling Corporation CEO Kevin Neveu.
On Friday, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland defended Canada’s higher target in a presentation to the Canadian Club in Toronto, saying that while the energy sector is very important to Canada, it has to be part of the climate change solution because “that’s where the emissions are.”
O’Regan said the world is increasing its climate ambitions and Canada will lead the way.
“We have hundreds of thousands of workers who know how to build energy infrastructure, and they’ll be the ones to lower emissions and build our clean energy future,” O’Regan said in a statement.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 23, 2021.