Report calls for National Clean Energy Centre

Simon Fraser
University’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT) is calling on
Canada to create a national centre for sustainable energy

The centre would build on environmental leadership already
underway. It would also marshal 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.

This is a key recommendation from the latest ACT report called
Climate Change Adaptation and the Low Carbon Economy. The
paper is co-authored by Bruce Sampson, former chair of the
International Centre for Sustainable Cities and former VP of
sustainability for B.C. Hydro, and Linsay Martens, an SFU
public policy program grad.

“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


The report outlines three major inter-connected challenges:

  • Energy Challenge - the world’s foremost source of easily
    accessible, cheap energy is depleting

  • 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

  • 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

Canada is a key player in this scenario. According to ACT,
Canada has the fourth highest ecological footprint in the world and
is one of its biggest consumers - but it also has the resources to
apply to the problem. B.C. is an excellent example as a pioneer in
the development of clean energy and the only jurisdiction in Canada
with a carbon tax.

Along with 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

Governments, foundations, and industry fund the ACT series.
Sponsors for this report include Plutonic Power, B.C. Hydro,
Pacific Institute for Climate Solution (PICS), and core ACT
sponsor, Zurich Financial Services.

“Zurich achieves its goal of becoming the best global
insurance company partly through involvement in cutting-edge
research and policy development such as ACT’s work,” says
Lindene Patton, Zurich’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,” says Deborah
Harford, ACT’s executive director. “This report frames the
transition to a low carbon economy in the context of these
interconnected challenges.”

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