Exchanging Ideas on Climate
National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy
Exchanging ideas on Climate

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Media Release

Long-term Climate Solution Exists,
Advisory Group Says

Focus must be on both energy use and production, action is required now

Ottawa, June 21, 2006 ? Canada can simultaneously make meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and promote its national interest, increasing productivity and competitiveness, improving air quality and meeting the energy needs of our growing economy, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) has reported in a new advisory document released today.

"This study is a first," said NRTEE Chair Glen Murray, who released the document at a news conference today. "While other studies have raised general issues about how climate change will affect Canada's economy and environment, this is the first detailed examination of what a low carbon future might look like for Canada over the next half century or so (between now and 2050)."

The National Round Table, an independent advisory body reporting to the Minister of the Environment, focused on two questions in this new report: How can Canada protect and enhance its national interest with regard to energy and climate change issues between now and the mid-21st century? And what do we need to do right now to achieve this?

The study reports that:

  • Even with a growing economy and increases in oil sands production, Canada can lower greenhouse gas emissions over the next 45 years by as much as 60 per cent from today's levels using existing technologies.
  • Energy policy in the 21st century means addressing both energy use and energy production? or in other words, increasing energy efficiency and reducing carbon intensity.
  • For energy use, increasing energy efficiency is key- by doing so we could achieve approximately 40 per cent of the overall 60 per cent reduction. The question is not which technologies to deploy, but how to deploy all of the potential greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction technologies, especially in the areas of personal and freight transportation, and residential and commercial buildings.
  • Canada's growing role as a major energy exporter is compatible with deep GHG emissions, but only if carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is perfected. Employing this technology in the oil and gas sector could benefit Canada both environmentally and competitively as a leading provider of energy to the world.
  • To reduce GHG emissions by 60 per cent, the electricity sector will need to be transformed between now and 2050. As with the oil and gas sector, CCS and clean coal technology will play important roles? and so will cogeneration and renewable energy (particularly wind).
  • Reducing GHG emissions will also bring significant air pollution reductions and other benefits.

"A key finding of this report is that a clear, long-term signal is needed to spur immediate action on the priority issues identified, so the significant opportunities reflected in our scenario can be realized," Mr. Murray said.

"Canadians need a signal now ? in particular to help the private sector make investment decisions that take GHG reductions into consideration. These decisions, affecting Canada's energy use and production infrastructure, are taken now, every day. It is important to send the appropriate signal as soon as possible. The longer we wait, the more difficult "

The full Advisory Report to the Minister of the Environment is available at www.nrtee-trnee.ca/climate-solution-e

About the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy:

The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE), an independent federal agency, is dedicated to exploring new opportunities to integrate environmental conservation and economic development, in order to sustain Canada's prosperity and secure its future.