Carleton University’s James Meadowcroft, professor with the Department of Political Science and Canada Research Chair in Governance for Sustainable Development was one of the speakers who launched a new report on Canada’s ability to take more action on climate change at the Americana Environmental Show in Montreal last week.
The report, Acting on Climate Change: Solutions from Canadian Scholars, represents the efforts of more than 60 university researchers, from disciplines across engineering and the natural and social sciences, and from every province, to identify possible pathways to a low-carbon economy in Canada.
The report argues that Canada could reach 100 per cent reliance on low-carbon electricity by 2035. This makes it possible to adopt a long-term target of at least 80 per cent reduction in emissions by the middle of the century. This is consistent with Canada’s international climate-mitigation responsibility.
The report forms the basis for six months of debate and consultation in preparation for the Paris Climate Summit scheduled for December 2015.
According to the report:
Short-term policy changes required to trigger climate action include:
- Implementing a national carbon tax or a national economy-wide cap-and-trade program;
- Eliminating subsidies to the fossil-fuel industry and fully integrating the oil and gas production sector in climate policies; and
- Integrating sustainability and climate change into landscape planning at the regional and city levels to ensure that new and maintenance infrastructure investments are consistent with decarbonizing the economy.
In the short-to middle-term, the transition could be facilitated by:
- East-West intelligent grid connections that allow provinces producing hydro-electricity to sell electricity to their neighbors while taking full advantage of Canada’s low carbon energy potential; and
- Well-managed energy efficiency programs that produce economic returns through cost savings, as well as job creation.
In the short-to long-term, the transition could support a transportation revolution:
- Transportation strategies that move the sector away from its dependence on fossil fuel could implement options ranging from electrification to collective and active transportation.
A copy of the report can be found at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/wo8yl8fohc61yjk/SCD_Short_15march_hires.pdf?dl=0.
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