Climate change has emerged as the most urgent environmental and economic challenges facing our planet. Addressing this issue is one of the most complex policy challenges we have ever faced. Climate change is a global, unpredictable and somewhat unknown phenomenon that extends beyond our political borders. No one country can resolve the problem and no policy can guarantee success in meeting this challenge. Given that Canada has a growing population, an economy that is growing faster than its population, and an oil and gas sector that is growing faster than its economy, the task set forth is immense.
However, climate change offers opportunities for Canada to become a world leader in technology and innovation. Our future will be determined in large part by how we respond to these opportunities, but also to the threats posed by climate change.
The NRTEE’s climate research has focused on the challenges of GHG mitigation strategies through carbon pricing and climate change adaptation in Northern Canada. (more...)
Vast travel distances between cities, a cold climate, an energy-intensive industrial base, relatively low energy prices, and a high standard of living – no wonder Canada ranks as the world's sixth largest user of primary energy. Energy use of this magnitude has a significant impact on the environment. The combustion of fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases; mineral exploration and mining can disrupt local ecosystems, while oil spills damage water, plant, and animal life.
As our population climbs and our appetite for energy continues to grow, a key challenge for Canada is to generate the energy required to maintain our standard of living without further compromising the planet’s health. The solution lies in knowledge sharing, progressive policy, better use of existing technologies and the development of new ones. Energy efficiency and renewable energy are said to be the “twin pillars” of a sustainable energy policy.
At the NRTEE, we believe that the right policies can promote the widespread development and use of green technologies in our economy and throughout the country. It could also transform Canada into a leading provider of clean energy to the world. (more...)
Canada is blessed with an abundance of fresh water, but we are not immune to the challenges of more demand, a finite supply, and the effect of population and economic growth, as well as climate change on water quantity and quantity.
“The trouble with water,” wrote Marq de Villiers, the author of Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource “is that they’re not making any more of it.” The NRTEE has already studied Canada’s wastewater systems as well as the health of the world’s oceans, and is now in the process of scoping out a new research program that will focus on key water issues for Canada related to the exploration and development of natural resources.
Like other natural resources, the world’s supply of fresh water is limited and finite. As the world gets bigger, hotter and more industrialized, we will need to find ways to conserve, protect and share it if we are to survive as a species. (more...)
If variety is the spice of life, then biodiversity is the web of life. Interdependence between the human species and ecosystems is at the basis of human survival. So closely is biodiversity intertwined with human needs, that it can be considered an element of basic national security and future global prosperity.
Yet, around the world, the number of species, the genetic variations within them, and the range of habitats are being affected by human activity. Overpopulation, deforestation, pollution – of the air, water and soil – along with global warming are exerting a cumulative effect on biodiversity. As species disappear, the world’s ecosystems are become less stable and more fragile. Living within and sustainably developing the biodiversity around us is central to human existence.
While, it is probably true that every project which the Round Table undertakes has some relevance to biodiversity, our experts have focused on the state of biodiversity in Canada, with an emphasis on governance, conservation and development of our natural heritage. (more...)
“Governance is the process whereby societies or organizations make important decisions, determine whom they involve and how they render account.”
- Institute on Governance