National network of scientists, engineers, social scientists and planners examines how Canada could act to limit global warming while remaining economically competitive
Ottawa, May 26 2017 – According to a new report co-authored by 71 university researchers from all 10 provinces, decreased demand for fossil fuels over the coming decades could significantly reduce inward investment in the oil and gas sector, making the industry a less attractive and riskier business. The scholars (including 3 members of the Faculty of Forestry) recommend that Canada makes the shift from being an oil producing country to becoming a low carbon energy leader.
“With its uniquely vast endowment of renewable energy resources, Canada can seize the global low-carbon energy transition as an opportunity to build a major new economic engine for the country,” according to Sustainable Canada Dialogues, the volunteer network of scientists, engineers & social scientists who compiled the 60-page paper.
The independent paper, written at the invitation of Natural Resources Canada, was developed to examine how Canada could transition to low-carbon energy systems while remaining globally competitive. Re-Energizing Canada: Pathways to a Low-Carbon Future, provides academic input to Generation Energy, a national dialogue on Canada’s path to a low-carbon future launched by Natural Resources Canada on April 21, 2017.
According to the scholars, Canada should accelerate its shift to a low-carbon economy by reducing overall energy demand through energy efficiency and conservation, increasing electrification, and switching to renewable sources of electricity and biofuels.
Governance issues central to a successful transition
“We believe that the key barriers to accelerating the low-carbon energy transition are social, political and organizational” says Professor Catherine Potvin of McGill University who coordinated the report. As stated by Professor Stephen Sheppard at UBC, one of the report’s lead-authors, “Canada needs a citizen engagement strategy for building energy literacy & reducing society’s use of high-carbon energy such as natural gas. We should be applying innovative digital tools such as community-wide thermal imaging of heat loss, online maps that enable citizens to look up their own energy footprints, and educational video games in schools. Offering citizens attractive low-carbon options that improve quality of life can accelerate the energy transition”. Such options include using homes to generate more energy than they use through feed-in tariffs and rooftop solar panels, expanding rapid transit, and a providing an urban forest network of attractive shaded greenways that promote active transportation.”
The report is available at: http://www.sustainablecanadadialogues.ca/en/scd/acting-on-climate-change
Contact: Stephen Sheppard, Tel. : 604 822-6582/778-997-7292; Deepti Mathew Iype, Cell: 604-218-3365
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