To Meet 2050 Paris Climate Agreement Goals, Canada Must Create Policies to Accelerate the Developmen
On August 23, 2017, Queen’s University hosted a workshop as a follow-up to a report commissioned in 2016 by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) entitled “Re-energizing Canada: Pathways to a Low-Carbon Future.”
Since 1990, per capita Green House Gas (GHG) emissions have decreased slightly from 22.1 tonnes to 20.1 tonnes. While this is a promising start to our low-carbon future, it is important to note that in the same period, Canada’s electricity sector per capita GHG emissions decreased by almost 30%. This is a direct result of policies put in place in Ontario, British Columbia and elsewhere. While there has been controversy about how these programs have been implemented, they have for the most part been successful in moving the country towards a low-carbon future. In fact, over 80% of Canada’s electricity now comes from low-carbon sources such as hydro, nuclear, and geothermal along with increasing use of solar and wind.
On the other hand, GHG emissions from oil & gas production, transportation and buildings have expanded rapidly so as to almost offset the gains in the electricity sector. Per capita GHG emissions from oil & gas and transportation have increased by 35% and now exceed the emissions from all other sources combined. Now is the time for federal and provincial governments to create policies that encourage the transition of the petroleum sector to renewable products. Policies should encourage technological and commercial development of renewable fuels such as ethanol, dimethyl ether (DME), biodiesel, renewable diesel and renewable jet fuel.
Without clear policies to guide the transition to renewable fuels, Canada will miss its 2020 and 2050 goals under the Paris Climate Agreement.
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