ACW Baseline Report – Energy

By Trista Wood and Warren Mabee

Queen’s University
Kingston, Canada

Climate change is one of the most important issues Canada is facing. While greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions do arise from natural processes, the current rapid concentration of these gases in our atmosphere is primarily being driven by human activity. Changes to the climate affect all aspects of the natural environment and have the potential to affect the Canadian economy, infrastructure, energy supply and demand, manufacturing, and services. As a consequence, it is critical that Canada move to curb these emissions.

As a signatory of the Executive summary (UNFCCC), Canada signed onto the Copenhagen Accord (December 2009) thereby committing to reduce its GHG emissions to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. The commitment represents a significant challenge for an expanding economy that is expected to be 31% larger in 2020 than it was in 2005 (Environment Canada 2014). In order to follow through on this commitment the Government of Canada is taking a sector-by-sector approach to GHG regulation and reduction.

Canada’s GHG emissions are largely related to the production and use of energy across the country. A review of all energy-related emissions are provided in the pages that follow, along with projections of future energy use. It is shown that oil and gas, transport, and buildings are the sectors most responsible for our increased emission profile. Growth in industrial and transport energy use will demand significantly more fossil fuel unless policy interventions push us towards ‘greener’ scenarios; using projections from the Trottier Energy Futures Project (TEFP 2016), two such scenarios are explored, one focused on sustainable urban development, and the other on a future where new electricity generation from nuclear sources is constrained. In both of these scenarios, the amount of electricity used in every sector increases dramatically. This suggests that a critical issue of the future will be designing new electricity generation in order to benefit both society and the workers who are engaged in the projects.

 

Download the full report (PDF)

 

SSHRC awards more than $2.5 million in funding to York-led research partnerships

Carla Lipsig-Mummé, professor of work and labour studies in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, has received more than $2.5 million over seven years through the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Partnership Grants program.

Lipsig-Mummé will lead a project titled “Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective”, which investigates how best Canada’s diverse workplaces can adapt work in order to mitigate greenhouse gases. The project will also examine the changes needed in law and policy, work design and business models for industry and services, to assist the “greening” of workplaces and work. Among the goals of the project, Lipsig-Mummé and her research team hope to develop work-based strategies to reduce greenhouse gases and energy use and integrate international and national best practices into Canadian work. Training for highly qualified work-based environmental change experts is also planned.

“It goes without saying that slowing global warming is a huge issue,” says Lipsig-Mummé. “The world of work has been neglected terrain in responding to climate change, but the structures of work, of modern business organizations, and of unions make it easier, not harder, to adapt work in order to mitigate greenhouse gases. After all, work creates the majority of GHGs produced by human activity in developed countries like Canada.”

The national project, which will also receive more than $2.2 million in matching funding and contributions from partnering organizations, includes 38 individual members and 19 partners in four countries. The team’s partners are labour unions and business organizations, government and public sector organizations, think tanks, universities and environmental groups. Team expertise spans natural and applied sciences, engineering, management, law, environmental studies, social sciences and organizational leadership.

“We are delighted by the results of the recent SSHRC competitions, reflecting York’s leadership in large-scale collaborative research projects,” said Robert Haché, York’s vice-president research and innovation. “Professor Lipsig-Mummé is conducting important research with partners in government, academia and public sector organizations to help workplaces in Canada address important issues of climate change and develop work-based strategies to reduce greenhouse gases and energy use.

Two York researchers also received $313,396 in funding under the Partnership Development Grants Program, which provides support to foster new research and related activities with new or existing partners; and to design and test new partnership approaches for research and/or related activities.

“York University is committed to supporting the growth and development of initiatives to enable the recognition of the University as a Canadian leader in sustainability research,” added Haché.

The announcement was made earlier today by the Honourable Minister of State (Science and Technology) Ed Holder. In total, $44 million is being awarded to support funding for 57 new Partnership Development Grants and 14 Partnership Grants.

For a complete list of Partnership Grant and Partnership Development Grant awards, visit the SSHRC website.

Arielle Zomer, Research Communications, York University, 416-736-2100 ext. 21069, azomer@yorku.ca