A new expert panel report, Technology and Policy Options for a Low-Emission Energy System in Canada, released today by the Council of Canadian Academies, provides a review of options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and moving Canada toward a low-emission future.
The evidence is clear: increased greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are causing pervasive changes to the Earth’s climate, and significant and rapid efforts will be needed to reduce these emissions in the coming decades. Solutions to this challenge will require major changes to how we produce and use energy.
“The technologies needed to mitigate the effects of climate change already exist, are well-researched, and are constantly improving,” said Keith Hipel, Panel Co-Chair. “Experience from around the world shows us which policies work best and under what circumstances. In short, we know everything we need to know to move Canada toward a low-emission energy future. We simply need to start.”
The Panel’s report notes that deeper emission cuts will require shifting to low-emission energy sources and potentially capturing and storing carbon from continued fossil fuel use. Further improvements in energy efficiency can foster early gains and serve as a foundation for future change. All of this can be done with existing technologies across the electricity, industry, building, and transportation sectors. The Panel also notes that low-emission electricity paired with the right combination of policies will be critical for widespread emission reductions.
This transition won’t come without a cost, but it can be achieved without jeopardizing Canada’s long-term economic growth and competitiveness. While energy system transitions tend to unfold over many decades, they can be accelerated with strategic policy support and are already underway in many jurisdictions across Canada.
“Given the variability across Canada there is no one-size-fits-all solution for widespread reductions,” said Paul Portney, Panel Co-Chair. “However the Panel’s report provides a series of options for private sector decision-makers, and different levels of government, as they seek to better understand energy use and the options available to combat climate change.”
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