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

School District 8 superintendent Christine Perkins says she’s leaving at the end of the school year. Photo: Tyler Harper
School District 8 superintendent Christine Perkins resigns

Perkins is leaving to take over another district

The 300 block Victoria Street is the site of Nelson’s proposed transit exchange. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
LETTER: Nelson City Council, please reconsider transit hub plan

From seven property and business owners near the intersection of Victoria and Kootenay Streets

Selkirk College has received provincial funding to assist students. File photo
Selkirk College receives funding to assist students

Provincial funding is available to West Kootenay students

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole to vote against Conservative MP’s private bill on ‘sex-selective abortion’

Erin O’Toole said he supports a woman’s right to choose and will personally vote against the private member’s bill

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

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Part of the massive mess left behind in a Spallumcheen rental home owned by Wes Burden, whose tenants bolted from the property in the middle of the night. Burden is now facing a hefty cleaning and repair bill as a result. (Photo submitted)
Tenants disappear in the night leaving Okanagan home trashed with junk, feces

Spallumcheen rental rooms filled with junk, human and animal feces; landlord scared to rent again

Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians are feeling more grateful for what they have in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

2019 report shows Canada emitted about one million tonnes more of these gases than the previous year

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to register people ages 40+ for COVID-19 vaccines in April

Appointments are currently being booked for people ages 66 and up

Interior Health improves access to mental health supports amid COVID-19 pandemic. (Stock)
Interior Health connects people to mental health resources amid COVID

310-MHSU line receives positive feedback in early months of rollout

A volunteer disinfects a historical Mohabat Khan mosque ahead of the upcoming Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Friday, April 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)
For Canadian Muslims, second pandemic Ramadan is a time of hope and sadness

Many members of the association are trying to find ways ‘to help people stay connected to one another’

Most Read