Patterns of Our Footsteps - Do we have the energy to handle growing pains?

April 30th, 2013

Last week, MC3 released the Climate Action Agenda for BC Municipal Decision-Makers, which included twelve recommendations for stimulating future innovation and implementation of climate change adaptation and mitigation in BC. The twelfth recommendation encourages transition to more sustainable development pathways from a systems perspective, for example, to develop in a manner that “restrains energy demand despite population growth”. This month’s Patterns of Our Footstep takes a closer look at Canada’s energy development path by examining how much energy we are producing and consuming as our national population grows.

The figure below displays Canada’s population growth and compares it with per capita energy consumption and production. The population has grown steadily for the last half century; however, trend lines for per capita consumption and production clearly show these have stabilized in the late-80s / early-90s (R² = 0.979 and R² = 0.978, respectively). These trends, however, are of per capita values, and thus, as the population grows, so does total consumption and production. Our next challenge, therefore, is to decrease total energy consumption.


Data was obtained from the World Bank database.


Sustainable Energy,