Deep Decarbonization

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[/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″]Not all energy and sustainability experts agree that Canadians can help decarbonize the country while maintaining near identical lifestyles to today, including owning two cars per household and living in sizable houses with many more bedrooms than dwellers. “Building standards haven’t kept up with trends in housing,” says Pierre Lundahl, a leading energy consultant and president of Lundahl Environment. “You may need to double [energy efficiency gains] to accommodate smaller families, people living alone and bigger houses.”

Simply read between the lines of an economic study like the DDPP to see the lifestyle changes it calls for, says Lundahl, the crux of them being more trips made by walking, biking and public transportation. “It’s more of an accelerated evolution than a revolution of lifestyle.”[/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″]

[mk_dropcaps style=”simple-style”]M[/mk_dropcaps]EETING THESE AGGRESSIVE GHG emissions goals will require all 15 countries to hold each other accountable to the DDPP. Bataille sees Canada developing frameworks and policies with nations that aren’t necessarily our best allies, but share climate and geo-similarities, such as Russia, where many of the same problem – solving approaches would apply.

And what happens if Canada misses its targets alone? “We could be facing border tax injunctions, tariffs,” says Bataille, who points to call for bans on Alberta oil reaching a crescendo in Oregon and California. “If we’re not seen as pulling our load, there are all sorts of legal and taxation [mechanisms] that can happen to us.” Ultimately, if the majority of other countries follow their deep decarbonization paths and we fall behind, our energy resources won’t have export markets. “We’re buying other people’s stuff instead of selling it.”

Those with intimate knowledge of emerging technologies have no reason to believe that the ingenuity of entrepreneurs and technologists can’t overcome the hurdles of fuel-switching and making sources of electricity more efficient. Where there’s pessimism is in politics. “We can do it, but the question is do we have the will? Will strong political commitment get there and remain there?” asks Lundahl. Investments in decarbonized energy need to be made early, but they can’t be unless the right policies — many of which must be formed at the provincial or territorial level — are signalled to the private sector immediately. “That needs to be known well in advance so that investors know what the rules will be and they’re confident in their investments,” says Lundahl.

Governments must be brave enough to put in carbon pricing systems and new transportation rules. They must tighten up existing regulations on transport and buildings. And they must make climate change unpartisan. “That’s where we’ve tripped up in Canada,” says Bataille. “Climate policy has become a political football. We need a tri-party agreement.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][mk_padding_divider size=”40″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]

by Omar Mouallem

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