CALGARY, Sept. 17, 2015 /CNW/ - A new study on decarbonization pathways shows that Canada can deeply reduce carbon emissions while maintaining a vibrant and prosperous economy.
Difficult? Yes. Impossible? No, says Dave Sawyer, development director for CMC Research Institutes' Low Carbon Pathways Group and co-author of the study outlining ways Canada can achieve the deep emission reductions necessary to limit global temperatures to increases to 2°C.
"It's clearly a challenge," says Sawyer, "This study helps to deconstruct that challenge and identify pathways that are resilient – that are our 'no regret' pathways."
The Canadian study is part of a 16-country report released today in Paris by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN) and the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) in preparation for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21). The Canadian chapter was supported by CMC Research Institutes and co-authored by Sawyer, Chris Bataille, associate researcher at IDDRI, and Noel Melton, partner at Navius Research.
Scenarios in the Canadian report show that the economy could benefit by developing and exporting low carbon technologies while reducing the cyclical impacts of global oil price shocks.
"The Canadian report is oriented to help a range of interested parties think about long term decarbonization and how to make the transition to a low carbon future such that we minimize costs and prepare ourselves to take advantage of an exploding low carbon export market," says Sawyer.
Canada has huge competitive advantages in decarbonization, says Bataille. "We have an enormous pan Canadian storehouse of renewable energy and one of the largest, most usable capacities in the world for the geological storage of carbon in the world."
Advances are being made to reduce carbon emissions in vehicles, electricity production and buildings. "Where we run into challenges is cost effectively decarbonizing industry and primary extraction," says Sawyer.
Within that challenge is also an opportunity because countries that rapidly develop low carbon technologies will be able to export those solutions. Over 90% of Canada's export business is conducted with countries moving toward decarbonizing their economies,
"Clearly there's a significant growth opportunity here," says Sawyer. "The global market for low carbon goods and services presents a massive opportunity for Canadian companies and Canadian technologies."
Canada's decarbonization efforts are moving forward on a number of fronts, say the report's authors, but both the oil and gas and heavy industry sectors need much stronger innovation signals to stimulate development.
"We need credible policy at all levels of government to signal that carbon will be more expensive and will need to be managed. This will drive innovation across Canada's entire economy," says Sawyer.
The Canadian report is posted at http://www.cmcghg.com/decarbonization-study/
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