ACT Release: December 8, 2010

For Immediate Release
December 8, 2010

Report Calls for National Clean Energy Centre Centre could make Canada a world leader in sustainable energy solutions.

Vancouver, BC – Canada should establish a National Centre for Sustainable Energy Solutions, according to the latest report from ACT, SFU’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team.

The Centre should build on environmental leadership already underway, marshalling the venture capital industry, utilities, all orders of government, business, and post-secondary resources to fund and promote resilient, sustainable clean energy technology development and commercialization.

The establishment of the Centre is a key recommendation in Climate Change Adaptation and the Low Carbon Economy, by Bruce Sampson, former Chair of the International Centre for Sustainable Cities, and former VP Sustainability, BC Hydro, co-authored by Linsay Martens, a graduate of SFU’s School of Public Policy.

“We must take the lead in the transition to sustainable energy in this country and the timing is critical,” says Sampson. “Already, 56 oil-producing countries have reached a peak in their oil production. That single fact alone should underscore the urgency of the need for alternatives.”

The report outlines three major inter-connected challenges: (1) the Energy Challenge – the world’s foremost source of easily accessible, cheap energy is depleting; (2) the Climate Change Challenge – our greenhouse gas emissions are destabilizing the climate and we need to dramatically reduce these emissions as well as prepare for the impacts; and (3) the Ecosystems Challenge – we are running a substantial ecological deficit; if global population and consumption trends continue, we’ll need the equivalent of two planet Earths by at least 2050.

Canada is a key player in this scenario. With the fourth highest ecological footprint in the world we are one of its biggest consumers – but we also have the resources to apply to the problem. BC is an excellent example as a pioneer in the development of clean energy and the only jurisdiction in Canada with a carbon tax.

Including the call for a National Clean Energy centre, the report identifies 21 recommendations focusing on governance, energy conservation and a shift to renewable energy, adaptation to climate change and insurance – for example, developing a distance-based vehicle insurance program.

This is the third report in ACT’s series on adapting to climate change across the spectrum – the first two were on protecting biodiversity on British Columbia, and the need to adapt to increasingly extreme weather events driven by climate change. Future topics include water conservation, population health, sea-level rise and food security.

The ACT series is funded by governments, foundations and industry. Sponsors for this report included Plutonic Power, BC Hydro, PICS (the Pacific Institute for Climate Solution) and Zurich Financial Services. “Zurich achieves its goal of becoming the best global insurance company partly through involvement in cutting edge research such as ACT’s policy work,” says Lindene Patton, the company’s Chief Climate Products Officer.

“It is important to seek win-win approaches that reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts and changing energy supplies, and limit our impacts on the system. This report frames the transition to a low carbon economy in the context of these interconnected challenges,” says Deborah Harford, ACT’s Executive Director.

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For the full report, please go to www.sfu.ca/act.

For more information and interviews with Bruce Sampson please contact: Deborah Harford, Executive Director, ACT at 604-671-2449 or adapt@sfu.ca.

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