Transitioning to a Low-Carbon Future and a new Economy: What are the main Barriers?


January 23, 2020 :: Bruce Wilson
Moderated by Laurie Schulz

Canada has joined many other national and regional jurisdictions in declaring a climate emergency. Recent reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warn of increasingly deterioriating conditions across the globe in the face of unchecked global heating. While human generated emissions of CO2 and other greenhouses gases are accepted as the major cause, efforts to bend the emissions trajectory are still not sufficient. The world’s economies must rapidly decarbonize over this decade to avoid lock-in to a future of climate extremes and damaging impacts to society. Canada will not be immune to the effects of global market de-stabilization, economic losses, climate migration, etc., and will witness gradual erosion of its economic basis.

This is Alberta’s challenge – how does the province transition away from an economy based heavily on hydrocarbon production without increasing social tensions and job losses? The fact is that action on the environment does not need to be set against a backdrop of job losses, but in order to achieve this we must visualize the full potential of a future economy, an economy that places greater emphasis on social factors, in which GDP is not the predominant measure of a society’s success. Making the transition to a low carbon future cannot be denied or deferred and there is no longer time for half measures. Leadership must have the vision to invest in new technologies and re-training that builds on our legacy industries. In particular, Bruce will discuss how a hydrogen economy could be pivotal in shaping Alberta’s trajectory of change.

Speaker: Bruce Wilson

Bruce is an engineer and a former GM of Shell, now an independent consultant on the energy transition including carbon capture and the hydrogen economy. He is a board member of non-profit ‘Iron + Earth’. Born and raised in Scotland, he trained as structural engineer, joining an oil company directly from university. Following an industry downturn he worked firstly in Africa before traveling to Canada where he met his wife, Terry Anne, in Calgary during the ’88 Olympics.

Over the next almost 30 years they have worked and lived around the world, the latter half of Bruce’s career spent with Shell International. In much of this time, Bruce has supported environmental causes, exemplifying the dichotomy between caring for the environment and powering our society. Finally, dissatisfied with the too gradual pace of Shell’s transition to renewable energies, Bruce parted with the company to take more direct action. He is an advocate for the vast potential of emerging low-carbon technologies that offer us the opportunity to thrive in this transition.

Moderator: Laurie Schulz

Date: Thursday, January 23, 2020
Time: Doors open 11:30 am, presentation 12 noon, buffet lunch 12:30 pm, Q&A 1 – 1:30 pm
Location: Royal Canadian Legion (please enter at north door) 324 Mayor Magrath Dr. S. Lethbridge
Cost: $14 buffet lunch with dessert/coffee/tea/juice or $2 coffee/tea/juice. RSVP not required
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