“We believe there is a way to reduce GHG emissions, grow our economy and create wealth.”
Even with all of the developments in renewables — and their decreasing costs, and increasing use — 80 per cent of the world’s energy still comes from fossil fuels, a level unchanged since 1990. The world needs more energy every day. At the same, global GHG emissions need to go down — fast. Solving this dilemma is the major challenge of our time.
The good news is that Canada is poised to help answer this challenge. But we need both ambition and action. We showed our ambition in 2016 by signing the Paris Agreement, committing to reduce our GHG emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. To achieve that goal, we need action, too. It won’t be easy but as a country we’ve not backed down from big challenges.
Indeed, we should see this national goal as an opportunity for Canada to be the leader in sustainable energy — across low-cost renewables and improved, more efficient fossil fuels that can show a fast-growing world a route to a more equitable and healthy economy.
The diversity of our energy mix and the ingenuity of its players give us reason to be optimistic. Many of the solutions to reduce emissions are being developed by existing energy producers. Additionally, we are home to great universities and colleges as well as a diverse eco-system of energy innovators and businesses that can foster the necessary innovations in clean technology. Canada also has access to the world’s best markets. Most importantly, we have the will. As the recent federal election made clear, a majority of Canadians supported parties with substantial climate-change platforms.
But Canadian — and global — progress towards the Paris Agreement has been slow and out of sync with our reputation as a globally engaged country. We heard that loud and clear at the World Economic Forum in Davos, from energy producers, environmentalists, community activists, global money managers and national leaders who all want Canada to excel in the energy transition.
Capital is critical in making this happen. But amidst the uncertainty of our progress, many existing energy producers are now finding it hard to attract the capital required to further reduce their GHG emissions. What’s more, Canada needs to drive scale to bring about meaningful change. Large energy producers have a proven track record in doing this. Fostering more partnerships between energy firms and clean tech is vital. Such important challenges need to be addressed.
We believe there is a way to reduce GHG emissions, grow our economy and create wealth.
To this end the Energy Future Forum was formed to map out an ambitious set of solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop and strengthen our economy. Importantly it has enlisted senior representatives of Canada’s business, government, academic, environmental and Indigenous communities to develop a pan-Canadian approach.
Our efforts are collaborative. Every sector needs to do its part. We must include ways of achieving the objective of fighting climate change and supporting economic development. We are committed to solving the challenge of low or zero emission energy for Canadians and the globe. We’ve already started.
Transparency will also be key. There will be disruption — no matter how you look at it. It starts with open and frank dialogue. We need to be empathetic to those who will be most impacted by change and at the same time we need to embrace and prepare Canadians for the opportunities, as well.
We must also be opportunistic. The sustainable and transition finance market continues to be more inclusive of companies across all sectors. Canada’s financial centres are uniquely positioned to develop the innovations that will incent and, in turn, improve the sustainability performance of organizations in our country and around the world.
In fulfilling our obligation to lower emissions, Canada can seize this opportunity to be the smart sustainable energy power of the 2020s and beyond. But this will only be possible if our country comes together to mitigate the challenges and maximize the opportunities in this transition. Leadership at all levels is required. Investors demand it. Our industries want it. Stakeholders expect it. And the world needs it.