Commentary

by Canadian Fuels Association

Low-Carbon Fuels Deserve a Seat at the COP26 Table

 |  Biofuels, Canadian Fuels Association, Energy, Environment, Fossil Fuels, Fuels, Greenhouse Gases, Issues, Lower Carbon Future, Policy

Low-carbon fuels are an essential pathway for reducing transportation emissions and need to be one of the solutions discussed in Glasgow.

Leading up to the COP26 conference, the conversation has been almost solely focused on how to accelerate the elimination of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and the fuels that power them.  Meanwhile, fuel producers have been working in the background on innovative ways to achieve significant emissions reductions without compromising the ability to reliably move people and goods around the globe.

This is certainly the case for Canada’s transportation fuels sector.  Over the past year, the companies that produce and distribute 95% of the fuels used in Canada have demonstrated their commitment to being part of the solution when it comes to our low-carbon future. This includes new facilities and low-carbon initiatives that have the potential to decrease sector emissions by 7 million tonnes per year, the equivalent of taking 3.5 million cars off the road.  This will require more than $5 billion in capital investment in new technologies and create up to 8,000 direct and indirect jobs.

And this is just the beginning.  Canada has immense potential to increase the production and use of low-carbon fuels.  We know that achieving Net-Zero emissions while maintaining the ability of the transportation system to reliably operate at full capacity is important for Canadian consumers.  The two key ingredients to expanding low-carbon fuels are manufacturing and supply/distribution expertise and access to feedstocks. Canada has an abundance of both.  Scaling up proven, Made-in-Canada, low-carbon fuels is the most affordable and reliable pathway for helping us achieve these goals while creating thousands of jobs.   We are also working with the agriculture and forestry sectors to identify new technologies, policies and feedstocks that will increase low-carbon fuel production in Canada.

Meanwhile, innovation continues at Canada’s 16 refineries where further investments in carbon capture and storage, and co-processing bio-content with traditional feedstocks have the potential to unlock significant emissions reductions.

At the same time, Canada’s existing fuel infrastructure is being adapted to drive emerging energy systems and technologies.  For example, investments in electric charging and hydrogen fuelling stations are providing Canadian consumers with transportation energy options at some of the 12,000 fuel retail sites across the country.  Canada is fortunate to already have strategic assets in place that support building the energy systems of the future and these will help to accelerate our emission reduction plans.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to meeting the transportation needs and expectations of 36 million Canadians living across 10,000 square kilometres with significant variations in weather, geography, infrastructure and ways of life.  What Canada needs is a National Transportation Strategy with all governments and stakeholders working on system-wide solutions that consider all applications and alternatives.  This is the path to meeting our climate goals while ensuring a
 strong, resilient economy.

We are also looking beyond our borders for good ideas.  Canada is collaborating with international partners to identify best practices for the transportation sector in other countries.   We know from other jurisdictions that Government has a role to play and policies such as regulation and financial incentives can also accelerate the adoption of low carbon liquids fuels.

Investments in the transportation fuels sector are already helping to shape a greener low carbon future without compromising the ability to move people and goods. A future where Canada is a leader in the development of clean transportation-energy choices. A future where those choices include reliable, affordable low-carbon fuels. 

Low-carbon fuel producers around the world – especially those in Canada – have demonstrated their ability to rise to the challenge when it comes to reducing emissions.  They will continue to quietly go about the business of harnessing innovation and establishing an important role in the low-carbon economy for generations to come.

While low-carbon fuels may not have been front and centre in the conversations in Glasgow, COP 27 in Egypt is just around the corner. 

Stay tuned for more.

Bob Larocque is the President & CEO of the Canadian Fuels Association.

@bob_larocque

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