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1. Invest in Initiatives that Build Public Confidence including Energy and Climate Literacy
The type of complexity involved in a transition to a low-carbon energy system is difficult for Canadians to wrap their heads around. Energy and climate literacy form the critical link to building this public confidence. This means when engaging Canadians through energy and climate literacy initiatives, the focus should be on taking a systems approach: developing critical thinking skills, ensuring messages are tailored to the audience and providing balanced information that activates collective values. Often we find this means translating information into an engaging format that can be easily understood and digested. It is important that the energy and climate literacy community has enough resources to provide Canadians with the right information, at the right time and in the right format. We’ve segmented the Canadian population to identify those most interested or open to learning about energy for a more targeted and efficient approach to reach Canadians in a dialogue around energy issues. These “Energy Engaged Citizens” want to learn more about energy issues and are stewards in their communities. Even though we need a national approach to energy and climate planning, communities want to have a say in their energy future and it is so important that they are engaged in a more effective way than they have been in the past. This means using new engagement and communication tools, such as social media, to ensure that we are engaging a wider demographic in a dialogue around energy and climate issues.
2. Improve Publicly Available Energy and Climate Data
Canadians do not have access to high quality, timely and robust energy and climate data sets that balance economic, environmental and social indicators. This information is not only critical to develop strong businesses cases and provide policy direction, but it is also essential to crafting the Canadian energy narrative. We know from our research that Canadians want more reliable, accurate, and transparent data in order to help support their decision making abilities. This should include benchmarking of large energy users and GHG emitters by sector as we know that this kind of transparency and competition drives results quickly.
3. Use a Collaborative Approach to Energy and Climate Decision Making
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The Government of Canada must actively work in collaboration with provinces and territories, First Nations, Métis and Inuit leadership and communities (FNMI), local communities, businesses, and civil society to ensure that there is a coordinated and streamlined approach to energy and climate policies and regulatory processes. A collaborative approach that informs and authentically engages stakeholders will maximize the benefits of our energy and low-carbon future. This is the approach we use at Pollution Probe and Energy Exchange to build consensus across disparate stakeholder groups—even though it can take more time upfront and can be complicated and uncomfortable, ultimately it is more effective and efficient.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][mk_image src=”http://www.energy-exchange.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/shutterstock_358521821-700×467.jpg” alt=”shutterstock_358521821″ width=”700″ height=”467″ crop=”true” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]Our key recommendation is that all energy conservation, efficiency and GHG mitigation options are rigorously evaluated and stacked against each other through a marginal abatement full cost accounting (i.e. externalities and co-benefits) methodology. This should be completed for each sector and overseen by an independent multi-stakeholder advisory council to ensure balance and foster public confidence in policy and regulatory recommendations. Innovation is moving rapidly and policy and regulatory processes must be nimble in order to keep up and maximize the potential benefits of new developments. A responsive policy environment that allows multiple solutions to be implemented with performance and cost dictating which options will progress is needed.
As citizens of an energy-rich nation possessing immense potential for wealth creation, Canadians must champion a responsible and informed low-carbon energy transformation. It is essential that we help Canadians feel comfortable engaging on energy issues and excited about Canada’s energy potential so that they can participate meaningfully in the transition and help be a part of the solution. Members of Canada’s energy community acknowledge that energy and climate literacy is an essential ingredient to build public confidence and expand investment opportunities into our future low-carbon energy system.
Read Energy Exchange submission on the federal climate web portal and let us know what you think!