Minister of Natural Resources, Seamus O’Regan, speaks to media in Winnipeg, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Sudoma

Minister of Natural Resources, Seamus O’Regan, speaks to media in Winnipeg, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Sudoma

Canada, Germany sign green-energy deal in bid to power fledgling hydrogen sectors

Countries agree to collaborate as both seek to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050

Canada and Germany have signed an agreement to team up on green energy innovation and trade, with an eye to hydrogen as the market for the low-carbon fuel heats up.

Signed Tuesday by the two countries’ energy ministers, it outlines a plan to co-operate on energy policy and research as both strive to reach the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan said Quebec and his home province of Newfoundland and Labrador are particularly well-positioned to start generating so-called “green hydrogen,” which burns cleanly and can be produced using wind and solar power.

O’Regan stressed the need to retrain workers in regions with economies long reliant on struggling fossil-fuel industries, saying the transition could be “messy.”

“It often makes people on both sides of the political spectrum — either side — unhappy,” he said in a virtual signing ceremony with Peter Altmaier, Germany’s minister of economic affairs and energy.

“Oil will be with us for some time, and it will continue to be a part of the Canadian economy, without question,” O’Regan said.

Liquefied natural gas could serve as a handy “bridge fuel” to cross over into green-energy territory, he added, with Germany aiming to integrate LNG imports as well as hydrogen production into its own energy strategy.

The two countries might not see fully eye to eye on hydrogen, with Canada focusing recently on so-called “blue hydrogen.”

The fuel is typically derived from natural gas or other fossil fuels and coupled with carbon-capture technology to reduce emissions, making it more politically viable in western Canadian provinces that boast abundant natural gas reserves.

Senior officials from several other G20 countries joined Canada and Germany at a virtual international energy forum out of Berlin Tuesday, and they too promoted hydrogen as a key innovation to lower worldwide carbon emissions.

United States President Joe Biden’s special envoy for climate, John Kerry, told the forum he supported O’Regan’s push for creative and collaborative solutions, including the expansion of hydrogen, as a way for governments and the private sector to work together in transitioning away from heavy reliance on fossil fuels.

“I think hydrogen is perhaps one of our greatest chances as obviously, that’s a shared point of view. Whole economies can be built on it,” Kerry said.

Foreign affairs and innovation ministers from Germany, Italy and the European Union joined Canada and the U.S. in stressing the need for greater momentum to help build the renewable energy sector in both developing and developed nations through collaboration — collaboration that needs to happen on the international level as well as domestically, the ministers said.

When challenged about Canada’s ongoing spending on the fossil-fuel industry while the Trudeau government continues to press other nations to go harder on green alternatives, O’Regan defended Canada’s oil, gas and pipeline spending.

“We are not going to get oil-free overnight, by any stretch of the imagination, so in the meantime, we have to do the hard work of lowering the emissions involved in the extraction and use of oil,” he said.

“This is not an act of charity, these are the people we need to do the hard work,” he said.

Climate changeGreen New Deal

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

Just Posted

Kimberley case counts not at the point for 18 years and older community vaccination, says Interior Health. (File photo)
Many factors considered for smaller community-wide vaccination: Interior Health

East Kootenay resort town’s COVID-19 situation not at the point of community-wide vaccination, say officials

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
54 more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty-two people in the region are in hospital with the virus, 11 of them in intensive care

While pharmacies across B.C. are using AstraZeneca for public immunizations for people 40 years of age and older, there is no availability currently in the Kootenays. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
No AstraZeneca vaccine availability in Kootenay pharmacies, says Interior Health

Vaccine has been opened up at pharmacies in other areas of the province to people 40 years of age and older

Michel-Natal-Sparwood Heritage Society runs a museum that was established to display the heritage of the "no-longer towns" of Michel and Natal, and the Elk Valley Area. Photo Submitted/Monica Beranek, Artifact Curator
Sparwood to support museum financially through to December 2022

The district will provide financial support for the museum to hire a full-time director

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Nanaimo RCMP say a man was injured while pouring gunpowder on a backyard fire in Harewood on Wednesday, April 21. (File photo)
Nanaimo man hospitalized after pouring gunpowder onto backyard fire

RCMP investigating explosion in Harewood also came across a still for making alcohol on property

Most Read