Jorden Dye looks forward to engaging with people during the Fri. Mar. 11 session of Cochrane Ideas.

He wants to hear their views, concerns, and questions on his presentation, entitled "Tensions in Transition: Implications and Opportunities for Net Zero Canada."

It's the open dialogue facilitated by Cochrane Ideas that makes it an ideal forum to discuss the inevitable global destination of Net Zero and the opportunities it could create for Alberta.

"It's not just me giving a boring PowerPoint presentation, but it's that chance to dig in with the audience afterward and hear their questions," says Dye.

"I can put together a presentation and give what I think is the most important information, but it's really when you talk to the average citizen that you get to hear the real fears and concerns that people have, and what can we do to address those.

"I think too often we get dismissive if the concerns don't align with yours, but we have to recognize that we're talking about people's livelihoods and future, and all concerns are legitimate. That's why these opportunities to engage directly outside of an academic setting are some of the best prompts for my work."

Dye is the program administrator and a researcher at Mount Royal University's Institute for Environmental Sustainability. He is also a member of Climate Talk Canada, a pan-Canadian initiative to create space for the difficult conversations surrounding the transition to a Net Zero Canada.

He believes much of the conversation surrounding sustainability and Net Zero gets stuck at a high level and quickly becomes polarized.

"You'd be surprised to hear a majority of Albertans support a cap and trade system or increasing the carbon taxes, but you don't hear that when you just stay at the high level," says Dye. 

"So the presentation is going to dig into where are some of the common grounds, and what are the opportunities we can really be looking at."

Those opportunities he'll be discussing include the potential of a clean tech industry delivering $61 billion GDP and 127,000 jobs by 2050. That's similar to the current economic contribution of Alberta's oil and gas sector.

"Moving from that high-level polarized conversation down to some of the nuts and bolts, where we find common ground, and what are the opportunities I think is really important to start driving us to the next step."

He says the decision to reach Net Zero didn't originate in Canada alone. It's a worldwide initiative.

"This is going to happen whether or not your particular industry or region is behind it, so I think positioning ourselves to take advantage of that is the best thing we can do."

He says Alberta and the West, in general, have had a long feeling of alienation of policy coming out of Ottawa, and the energy issue is its latest incarnation.

He says the current direction for the cost of reducing oil and gas emissions to be borne by the provinces where they originate is problematic.

Eighty per cent of Canada's oil and gas production is in Alberta, and it makes up 25 per cent of Canada's emissions. Ten per cent of that is from the oil sands, which is the single largest emissions source in Canada.

"If you're framing the conversation like that, and that's where it's stuck, then Albertans have every right to be afraid," says Dye.

He says that very topic is heavily discussed by an east-west dialogue group he's part of.

"A big part of the conversation we have there is how do we get the rest of the country to understand that the cost to reducing emissions can't be borne by Alberta alone? It has to be a country-wide conversation."

A graduate of Mount Royal University, Jorden's work on the energy industry has focused on industry response to environmental concerns and the impacts of the financial institutions embracing the energy transition.

This enlightening Zoom session begins at 7 p.m. and the "doors open" at 6:30 p.m.

Below is the information and link you'll need to attend the meeting. It's free to attend, and discussion is encouraged on any topic presented.

Zoom link: 

Meeting ID: 856 5955 3775
Passcode: 369514