Net-zero in the Pipeline Space – what’s it all mean?

We’re committed to exceeding our 2030 Paris target and getting to net-zero emissions by 2050, as well as to putting our five-year targets into law.

Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Environment and Climate Change Canada (2019, December 20). Government of Canada releases emissions projections, showing progress towards climate target.

Accounting for approximately 26% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in 2018 (1), such strong and visible commitments from the federal government make an equally strong motivator for the pipeline space to take up the call to achieve net-zero emissions.

What is net-zero?

The quick and easy definition of net-zero or alternatively, carbon neutrality, is the act of negating greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activity through a combination of physically reducing emissions from a given process, or by offsetting emissions through other means implemented within or alongside the process.

It’s a big picture way of thinking where in it’s simplest form, the sum of GHGs added equals the sum of GHGs removed or offset. This approach makes net-zero a key component of our societal strategy to control carbon emissions to mitigate the impact of climate change. Net-zero is more than just solar panels and wind turbines. In its ultimate manifestation, it involves rethinking and restructuring how we live and coexist within the biosphere, while prioritizing lifecycle emissions.

As a global leader, the Government of Canada is leading the charge to measure and forecast emissions, set targets, and enact a policy and framework into law (2). Integrating these values as a cornerstone of their Environment, Sustainability, and Governance (ESG) framework, pipeline companies are responding in kind, releasing their own forecasts and plans for how they will meet the call of a net-zero future.

How does net-zero impact the young pipeliner?

At the risk of sounding dramatic, curtailing GHG emissions and creating a sustainable energy future are the paramount challenges of today, with life and society as we currently know it in the balance. Opportunities are vast and far-reaching, and many are technologically complex, pushing the boundaries of human knowledge and capability. Developing and implementing net-zero solutions requires the application of the best and brightest minds. In that statement lies the silver-lining; no generation in history has been better equipped to tackle and solve this problem, and as pipeline operators build and implement their net-zero strategies, the need for a passionate, skilled, and talented base has never been greater and the opportunities for the young pipeliner, never-better.

You can read more about YPAC partner organizations’ approach to the net-zero future in the reference section at the end of this post, and hear about these plans in action at our November 17th “Inside the Alberta Energy Industry” event, where ATCO will describe some of their recent endeavours in hydrogen technology.

References and Further Reading

(1) Greenhouse gas emissions (2020, April 20) Government of Canada. Retrieved November 9, 2020 from
(2) Strategic assessment of climate change revised October 2020 (2020, October 06) Government of Canada. Retrieved November 9, 2020 from
(3) Enbridge Inc. (n.d.). Alberta solar one, expected to enter service in April 2021, will help meet company ESG objectives. Retrieved November 9, 2020 from
(4) Enbridge Inc. (2020, November 6) Enbridge sets new environmental, Social, and Governance Goals for the Future. Retrieved November 9, 2020 from
(5) TC Energy (n.d.) 2020 report on sustainability. Retrieved November 9, 2020 from
(6) Williams Companies Inc. (2020, August 26) Williams announces goal of 56% absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Retrieved November 9, 2020 from
(*) Photo by Victor Garcia on Unsplash