Climate change may not be at the forefront of people’s minds as we move through the global crisis of COVID-19, however it remains a looming threat. As countries look for ways to recover, growing interest in solutions to climate change offer Canada an opportunity to accelerate economic recovery.
To stabilize temperatures below 1.5°C, global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced to net zero by 2050. Most pathways to achieve this goal incorporate carbontech – technologies that turn captured carbon into commercial products.
A growing global market
Interest in carbontech is growing, with the global market forecast to reach $1 trillion annually by 2030, the same scale as the international market for concrete. One reason for the popularity of these technologies with governments, industry and innovators is that the goods produced can permanently sequester carbon while at the same time offering operators a way to recoup their investments and subsequent operating costs.
Our new report, The Carbontech Innovation System in Canada, highlights areas of competitive advantage, and factors that could place Canada in a leadership role designing and supplying these technologies to global markets. Canada is home to one of every six tonnes of CO2 that have been captured and sequestered globally, making it a recognized authority in the development of carbon storage facilities and accompanying regulatory frameworks. This report highlights important lessons from these investments that can be applied to development of the carbontech sector.
Report highlights Canada’s strengths
The report also demonstrates empirically that Canada has strengths which position it to succeed in the carbontech sphere, including in Intellectual Property in specific carbon-to-value pathways and in formation of entrepreneurial technology ventures. Canada also has a well-educated workforce with strengths in engineering; public finance programs for early stage research and development; policy support; and leading research and scale-up facilities.
Given the lucrative carbontech markets at play, other countries are accelerating efforts to grow the sector. Canada risks falling behind unless it moves quickly to develop a comprehensive national strategy to guide government, industry, technology developers and the finance community as they are faced with decisions that will impact growth. This report can serve as a guide to focus resources on key areas to stimulate research, development and the commercialization of carbontech.