The Canadian Academy of Engineering / Programs & Publications

Net-Zero / Climate Change

On December 12, 2015, at COP21 in Paris, 196 parties, including Canada, signed a legally binding international treaty on climate change to limit global warming to “well below 2° Celsius” – The Paris Agreement. One year later at COP22 in Marrakesh, Morocco, the parties came together to continue working towards the goals of the Paris Agreement. The Academy, in partnership with the Trottier Family Foundation and the Suzuki Foundation produced a report: The Trottier Energy Futures Project. This report analysed 11 different scenarios or pathways to reduce GHG emissions by 80% from 1990 levels by the year 2050.

Today, on the eve of COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, the goal has evolved to become the achievement of Net-zero greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by the year 2050. A key challenge is how to do this while maintaining economic growth and prosperity. To achieve this goal there will need to be a significant transformation of Canada’s energy, transportation, industrial and building sectors. Much of this change will require innovative approaches to engineering.

The Net-Zero / Climate Change program explores the various pathways to achieve Net-zero from the perspective of the engineering community that will be tasked with delivering it – on-time, on budget and to a required performance specification.

Climate change is a global challenge. It is not enough that countries like Canada achieve Net-zero. Other countries, many with less capacity for change, will require solutions for their economies providing a global market for innovative Net-zero solutions. The CAE is interested in exploring how Canada can be a global Cleantech leader.


Webinar #1 – Series on Net-Zero Emissions
Maintaining Canada’s Economic Prosperity while Achieving Net-Zero by 2050


Hosted by the Canadian Academy for Engineering, the 1st  webinar in a series dedicated to net-zero emissions was held on January 28th, 2021.  

Governments around the world are under pressure to undertake urgent and bold actions to deliver huge greenhouse gas emissions reductions to avoid the catastrophic effects of a warming climate. Many countries have committed to transition to a net-zero economy by 2050. In November 2020, Canada also made a commitment to achieve net-zero. The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act was tabled to set rolling five-year binding emissions-reduction targets and chart pathways to net-zero by 2050.

A review on the history of climate change agreements, including strategies to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C, and technologies that are being promoted globally for displacing fossil fuels.

Panelists provided some alterative mitigation pathways for Canada towards achieving net-zero by 2050, while at the same time growing the economy and transforming Canada’s energy systems. This will include presentation of results of earlier studies, and potential impacts of recent promising Canadian technological developments and initiatives.

Click here to view the Video.


Moderated by:  Soheil Asgarpour FCAE, President, Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC)


Webinar #2 – Series on Net-Zero Emissions
Achieving net-zero by 2050: challenges and opportunities of electrification and electric cars


Held on March 3rd, 2021 at 12:00 pm EST, the Canadian Academy of Engineering, in collaboration with National Engineering Month, hosted its second webinar dedicated to net-zero emissions. The focus of this seminar is to discuss the challenges and opportunities of electrification and electric cars.

The following are some of the topics which will be touched on in the webinar:

  • Peter will discuss the role of electric and autonomous vehicles in achieving net-zero, and the future of the Canadian automotive industry;
  • Christian will discuss the challenges and opportunities of electrification in the Quebec’s context.

Click here to view the video.


Peter Frise, Professor of Mechanical and Automotive Engineering, University of Windsor
Christian Bélanger, Director Scientific Research, Hydro-Québec Research Institute

Moderator: Soheil Asgarpour, President, Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC)


Webinar #3 – Series on Net-Zero Emissions
Nuclear Fission and Fusion: Widening the Path to Net-Zero


On Tuesday, June 15, 2021 the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE), in Collaboration with Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), and Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC) hosted its 3rd Net-Zero webinar, titled Nuclear Fission and Fusion: Widening the Path to Net-Zero.

Presentations were heard by speakers Ali Siddiqui, Axel Meisen, and Philip Hildebrandt.

Axel will discuss the challenges and opportunities towards commercialization of fusion technologies, and applications in meeting the net-zero target by 2050. Philip will present his views on the application of existing and emerging nuclear technologies in meeting the net-zero target by 2050. Given the fact the SMR will have a higher per unit energy cost than the large nuclear reactors, Ali will discuss the application of SMR in meeting the net-zero target.

Click here to view the video.


Axel Meisen, C.M., Ph.D., P.Eng, EurIng., FCAE, FCIC, FIEI
Philip Hildebrandt
Ali Siddiqui


Soheil Asgarpour, Ph.D, FCAE, FCIM, FCSSE, P.Eng.

Young female engineer in front of wind turbine installation

CAE Energy Program Partners

The Bowman Centre for Sustainable Energy
Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada

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