Is Renewable Energy Key to Canada’s Path To Climate Prosperity?

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OTTAWA, November 19, 2015 — To meet Canada’s commitment to decarbonize its energy system and contribute to fighting climate change, we will need to produce twice as much renewable electricity across the country as we do today and use that energy efficiently to power our buildings, vehicles and industries.

That’s the key finding of Powering Climate Prosperity: Canada’s Renewable Electricity Advantage, the first report from the Canadian Council on Renewable Electricity.

The report—which arrives as Canada’s prime minister and premiers prepare to meet next week in advance of the global climate talks—outlines Canada’s current renewable electricity production and explores how the nation can dramatically reduce carbon emissions by 2050.

The report argues that three significant changes to Canada’s energy production and consumption are required by 2050 if we aim to do our part to prevent average global temperatures from rising to dangerous levels. Specifically, we must:

  • Intensify efforts to cut energy waste across the economy,
  • More than double renewable electricity generation capacity, and
  • Increase use of electricity as the “clean fuel of choice” to power the economy.

The report draws on data and modelling conducted by the Low Carbon Pathways group at Carbon Management Canada, and published in Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in Canada (September, 2015).

“Canada has a renewable electricity advantage that can support real climate leadership,” said John Gorman, President, Canadian Solar Industries Association.

“For too long, our national discussion about climate change has focused on what we can’t do. But we have tremendous renewable energy resources, technology costs keep falling, and it’s time to focus on what we can do.”

His thoughts were echoed by  Robert Hornung, President, Canadian Wind Energy Association.

“Across the country, renewables are now a cost-competitive option for new electricity, and because the ‘fuel’ is free we know they will remain affordable,” noted Hornung. “We already produce a significant amount of renewable electricity, but we have barely even scratched the surface of Canada’s renewable energy potential.”

The report was released in conjunction with the release of the 16-country report in Paris by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN) and the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI).

The international study will be tabled by the French presidency at the United Nations’ 21st Conference of the Parties in December 2015 (COP21).

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