Patricia Fuller, Canada’s Ambassador for Climate Change, explains how Canada is taking action to reduce emissions and tackle climate change
In a past edition of Open Access Government, Minister of Environment and Climate Change in Canada, Catherine McKenna detailed the country’s plan to reduce carbon emissions and strengthen their clean growth economy. Minister McKenna believes that governments can assist people to thrive in a changing climate. “Governments everywhere want to protect their citizens from climate risks. They want to build resilient communities, protect investments, reduce costs and ensure people thrive in a changing climate”, she says.
In March this year, we were very fortunate to enjoy a conversation with Canada’s Ambassador for Climate Change, Patricia Fuller, to find out how the Government of Canada is working together with Canadian businesses to grow Canada’s clean economy. In this interview, we discover how Canadians coming up with innovative methods to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions, saving people money and creating good jobs. Looking ahead, we learn about the importance of investing in projects that will help Canada reduce emissions and take action on climate change.
Supporting innovation and the development of clean technologies
We know that there are a wide range of programmes in place to support innovation and the development of clean technologies by the Government of Canada. Innovation is supported from early-stage R&D right through to commercialisation and Patricia notes that in recent federal Budgets, support in this vein was expanded through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC). They have both created special teams focused on financing clean technology companies, but there are also many other forms of support being given, Patricia tells us.
“Another important institution that works within this area is Sustainable Development Technology Canada and they are supporting companies that are looking to develop and demonstrate clean technologies.”
Innovative ways to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions
The conversation then moves to explain how Canadians coming up with innovative methods to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions will save people money and create good jobs. Patricia underlines that in Canada today, innovation is being evidenced in all sectors of the economy in light of that fact that both clean technology and clean growth encompass many areas. One example is the industrial sector, where there are innovations around saving companies energy costs through innovation in processes. Patricia then keenly gives additional examples in her own words.
“A whole area of innovation we are seeing a lot of is in the application of IT and the Internet of things (IoT) so that industry can become much more efficient in how they use resources. We are seeing the IT and data analytics space innovating very strongly.
“Also, in the area of electricity generation, we see the application of IT and artificial intelligence (AI) to the management of electricity grids. There is the whole area of smart grid technology and grid modelling, that enables much more use of renewable energy because the electricity grid can become much more decentralised.
“In the area of energy efficiency when it comes to buildings and homes, we have a number of innovations in terms of how to get those projects off the ground. For example, we have seen rapid growth occurring in Toronto over the last 15-20 years in terms of high rise buildings while energy demand remains constant, because of improved insulation and lighting, for example, which drives down the use of energy.
“Then, of course, there is the transportation sector where the move towards electrification is key and, we see greater use of electric vehicles and we are supporting charging stations. Canadian companies are also developing electric buses and exporting those internationally, so that is a very exciting area of innovation.
“It’s also important to share innovation in the oil and gas sector where companies are investing to drive down the energy-intensity of oil and gas production, as well as developing carbon capture and use technologies. There is the example of a company, Carbon Cure, who puts CO2 in concrete to make is stronger so that it will create value, and you can see other examples of uses for CO2 and the potential of a market for that.”
Reducing emissions and tackling climate change
As we look to the future, Patricia explains why it is important to invest in projects that will help Canada reduce emissions and to take action on climate change. Investment in these areas creates a “win-win” situation when it comes to Canada reducing their emissions, reaching targets under the Paris Agreement, and helping Canada to be competitive in the global transition towards a low carbon economy.
“We know that all countries are investing in these areas as well and we want to ensure that Canadian industry is positioned to be competitive and to have a leadership role in areas where we have strength. We know that this supports long-term prosperity, as well as the creation of very good jobs today.”
Supporting developing countries
From our earlier article by Minister of Environment and Climate Change in Canada, Catherine McKenna, we learn that Canada is assisting developing countries to access clean energy and climate solutions. In 2016, we learn that the Government of Canada committed to contributing $2.65 billion up to 2021 towards the achievement of this goal. Patricia offers her own thoughts on this aspect of policy as the interview draws to a close.
“We are very aware that developed countries need to support developing countries in making the transition and in adapting to the effects of climate change that are already potentially catastrophic for development goals. So, we are investing in programmes that support developing countries to adapt to climate change.”
Canada’s Ambassador for Climate Change
Government of Canada
Tel: +1 819 938 3860
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