CER net-zero plans rife with ‘optimistic assumptions’: Analysis

Earth scientist David Hughes warns that the CER's expectations for scaling up nuclear and hydrogen technologies are likely unachievable, given their current status in the country.

Though the CER’s scenarios project that natural carbon storage in forests and land will triple to reach net-zero, accounting for natural carbon sinks fails to include emissions from extreme climate events like wildfires that have made Canada’s forests a significant carbon source. SDIS.33 photo.

This article was published by The Energy Mix on Feb. 12, 2024.

By Christopher Bonasia

A Canadian regulator’s pathway to net-zero is overly optimistic about slow-to-scale technologies, even as reliance on fossil fuels continues, finds a new report—but a course correction is possible through substantial policy upgrades that focus on reducing emissions and energy demand.

Earth scientist David Hughes reviewed the Canada Energy Regulator’s (CER) June 2023 report, which offered scenarios aligned with the country’s net-zero target. It called for major changes in Canada’s energy supply, including reducing oil and gas production, a “several-fold increase” in renewable generation from solar, wind, and biomass, nearly tripling nuclear capacity, and a ramping up of technologies like carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS).

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