As a group of highly skilled reliable and productive tradespeople that includes welders, riggers and fitters, the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers would likely not come to mind as typical advocates for climate change. Why would a group of tradespeople who have been in existence as an organized brotherhood since 1880 want to help raise awareness of the effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) on our planet? It’s a curious question and I think the best way to answer it is this…perspective.
Our Unique Perspective
As Boilermakers we have been able to, through our unique perspective, view this issue from all sides in a wise and reasonable way.
As people who build infrastructure for industry that also now includes infrastructure for carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities, we see CCS from all sides, as a collaboration of energy, environmental, industry and labour experts exploring how CCS technology can solve the three oft-at-odds issues of energy, environment, and economy.
CCS is an emission reduction process designed to prevent large amounts of CO2 from being released into the environment.GHGs are generated by a variety of industrial processes and applications. Systems that include the burning of fossil fuels in power plants to make electricity, and industrial processes such as refining oil or producing iron, steel, cement and ammonia all emit large amounts of CO2. Emissions also come from cars, trucks, ships and aeroplanes, and from domestic sources, such as heating our homes.
These are aspects of healthy communities and signs of prosperous middle class lifestyles, all stuff we enjoy as individuals and families. As the human population and middle class increases, so will the demand for industrial products and our need for reliable energy to power our world.
Excessive CO2 is the greatest contributor to the warming of the planet. In order to prevent large amounts of GHGs from entering the atmosphere, the world has developed CCS technology to capture CO2 from point-source contributors, such as power plants and other industries. The accelerated deployment of CCS technologies is one critically important step for achieving meaningful long-term GHG reduction goals for the nation while ensuring affordable energy resource.
Large-scale CCS is identified as a critical technology to reaching global targets to meaningfully reduce GHGs and meet the 2oC climate goals set out in the Paris Agreement.
The Truth is Stark
The truth is stark: CCS is the only clean technology that can decarbonize industry -- steel, cement, fertilizer, petrochemicals, pulp and paper, as well as coal and gas-fired power. No other technology can do it. CCS is a sensible solution to tackle this problem. CCS allows reliable energy production through a realistic mix of renewables and clean fossil fuels -- a solution that keeps the energy and industrial workforce at work, and local and global economies strong.
Canada has already led the way in pioneering industrial-scale CCS projects, with three facilities already operational -- all built by Boilermakers. Our Brotherhood has embraced CCS as a pivotal technology to make the giant leap from the high-emitting present to a non-emitting future.
The Boilermakers believe so strongly in this cause, that we organized the professional making of a short film called CCS: Bridge to a Cleaner Energy Future. Through this film, and by mobilizing our 50,000 plus members as advocates for the cause, we hope to broaden the audience, engaging as many members of the public to accept this proven technology as a common sense approach to solving the climate change issue.
The Boilermakers want the world to understand that we see how CCS is a “must do” clean technology.
From our unique perspective, CCS comes up the middle by creating employment and economic opportunities for communities, regions and nations – all while tackling climate change head-on.
The Boilermakers can be part of the solution by insuring that, through the expansion and building of CCS plants, we will be there to complete the construction phases, maintain the work on schedule and on budget. This is our responsibility to every person and living thing on our planet. Please share our video and help us spread the word.
- - - - - - - - - -
Cory Channon is the Assistant to the International President and Assistant Director of Construction Sector Operations (Canada) for the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers