Acting on Climate Change: Solutions from Canadian Scholars

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In fall 2014, UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon exhorted all countries in the world to raise the ambition of their climate change policies to avoid a global temperature increase of more than 2°C during this century. Answering this call, the scholars of Sustainable Canada Dialogues (SCD), an initiative that mobilizes over 60 researchers from every province, worked collectively to identify a possible pathway towards a low carbon economy in Canada. Our network of scholars represents disciplines crossing engineering, the sciences and social sciences, where sustainability is at the heart of our research programs.

Acting on Climate Change: Solutions from Canadian Scholars identifies ten policy orientations illustrated by actions that could be immediately adopted to kick-start Canada’s necessary transition towards a low carbon economy and sustainable society. We unanimously recommend putting a price on carbon.

Climate simulations, carried out in the context of SCD by the Consortium OURANOS2 based on the mitigation scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, show that immediate global action would successfully limit temperature increases in Canada. We must act today to ensure tomorrow.

Besides putting a price on carbon, Acting on Climate Change: Solutions from Canadian Scholars examines how Canada can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions (GES) by:

  1. producing electricity with low carbon emissions sources;
  2. modifying energy consumption through evolving urban design coupled with a transportation revolution; and
  3. linking transition to a low-carbon economy with a broader sustainability agenda, through creation of participatory and open governance institutions that engage the Canadian public.

Our proposals take into account Canada’s assets and are based on the well-accepted “ polluter pays ” principle. They are presented in detail in the core document that can be downloaded from the SCD website.