Top 5: Takeaways from GLOBE 2016

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1. THE STARS HAVE ALIGNED (FINALLY!): In my lifetime—let’s say less than 40 years—I have never before seen this level of willingness to collaborate across governments, business and civil society. Everyone at the conference was speaking the same language and the majority are finally understanding that business and sustainability are not opposed, but reinforce each other, creating more value and new business opportunities. Seeing the Prime Minister, federal ministers, premiers and provincial and territorial ministers identifying regional challenges, priorities and lessons learned and talking to each other with respect and dignity has truly made me proud to be Canadian. Our country is a prime location for investment and to test new technologies that are part of an emerging low-carbon economy. As you can imagine, Pollution Probe and Energy Exchange are very excited about these new developments because for the last 40 years our approach has been focused on consensus building and collaboration to improve the health and wellbeing of Canadians.

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2. WE’RE MOVING TOWARDS A LOW CARBON ECONOMY:  The federal and provincial governments met during GLOBE to discuss a pan-Canadian plan to combat climate change. With the key leaders in the room, everyone agreed that it was time to take action on climate change. Four working groups will report back concrete federal-provincial proposals by September 2016. Reports will cover:  (1) carbon pricing, (2) clean technology and innovation, (3) mitigation (reducing GHG emissions), (4) adaptation/resiliency. There has been concern that a national minimum carbon price will not work for all provinces.  However, most understand that each region in Canada has a unique energy culture and carbon emission profile; and now they are all ready to take action. The federal government seems quite open to a multi-jurisdictional approach, while providing Federal oversight to ensure international commitments are met. Something you may not know is that 86% of Canadians are currently covered by an established or committed price on carbon.  Some jurisdictions prefer a carbon tax (e.g. B.C. and Alberta) while others favour cap-and-trade (e.g. Quebec and Ontario).

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Need a refresher on carbon pricing systems? Energy Exchange’s Carbon Pricing Primer breaks them down for you!

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What was clear to everyone at GLOBE is that predictability and stability in carbon policy are essential to create the right investment environment for a low carbon economy. As John Roome of the World Bank stated, “carbon pricing is necessary but on its own insufficient.” Our federal government, specifically the Environment and Climate Change Canada, will be heavily engaging Canadian business, provincial and territorial governments, civil society, and citizens over the next six months. Our governments are listening, so let your voice be heard!

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]3. MORE INVESTMENTS IN CLEAN TECH, INNOVATION AND RESILIENT COMMUNITIES ARE COMING:  One thing I heard over and over is that governments will focus policy and investment on clean technologies, innovation strategies, and smart resilient cities. Organizations like EVOK Innovations (BC based clean tech fund and accelerator), Sustainable Development Technologies Canada (Canadian Government Clean Tech Fund), COSIA (Alberta based Oil Sands Innovation Alliance) and MaRS Discovery District (Ontario-based innovation and accelerator hub) were heavily featured at GLOBE. The entire expo floor was dedicated to innovation and B2B opportunities. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $75 million for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to help fund low-carbon smart cities, and $50 million for Infrastructure Canada to look at evolving building codes for climate adaptation and building more resilient municipal infrastructure.

Canadians are extremely innovative, but we have not been very successful at commercializing our innovations. We have lost the economic benefits of innovation while less risk-averse countries have taken innovative products to market. We have a major opportunity in Canada to be the world’s low-carbon and clean technology testing ground because of our great energy/resource wealth and our highly educated workforce. We can learn a lot about commercialization from countries like the US and China – and we should. Our next major economic driver could be focused on helping the world mitigate and adapt to climate change using homegrown talent and innovation. Canada’s diversity will be our biggest asset in achieving our clean technology and economic diversification goals.[/vc_column_text][mk_mini_callout]

Wonder what a decarbonized Canada might look like? Check out our article on Deep Decarbonization in Energy Exchange magazine which looks ahead to Canada in 2100.

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