In June, the Columbia Institute’s Centre for Civic Governance released the first annual progress report on the 18 federal and 24 provincial/territorial policies that it had identified in its 2016 report, Top Asks for Climate Action: Ramping Up Low Carbon Communities . The 2016 report focuses on local government issues and the policy support they need from the federal, provincial and territorial governments in the areas of capacity building, funding, buildings, transportation and smart growth. The 2017 Report Card credits the federal government for some accomplishments – such as establishing a national price on carbon – and highlights nine key areas where “room for improvement” remains. These are: 1) establishing scientific GHG targets that will meet Paris Agreement commitments; 2)Establishing a mechanism that will guarantee new infrastructure spending that won’t lock Canadians into a high carbon path; 3) Moving faster on eliminating fossil fuel subsidies; 4)Providing more robust tools for retrofitting homes and commercial buildings; 5)Providing all communities with energy, emissions and natural capital baseline data; 6) Prioritizing transit and active transportation over auto-only infrastructure; 7) Giving priority to community and Indigenous -owned renewable energy projects to advance energy democracy in Canada; 8) Developing a national thermal energy strategy; 9) Helping local governments transition to low carbon fleets. A June 5 article in the National Observer summarizes the report, and provides response from the federal government.
A second new report, Re-Energizing Canada: Pathways to a Low-Carbon Future , takes a more academic approach, but includes many of the same issues. The report, published by Sustainable Canada Dialogues, is the product of input from Canadian academics and First Nations, establishes a framework of our energy system, and examines the important issues in Canadian energy policy with statistics and analysis. The report identifies governance issues as central to a successful low-carbon energy transition, and states: “we believe that the key barriers to accelerating the low-carbon energy transition are social, political and organizational.” Many of its recommendations relate to governance structures needed for policy harmonization. Re-energizing Canada was Commissioned by Natural Resources Canada in Fall 2016, and published by Sustainable Canada Dialogues, a Canada-wide network of over 80 scholars from engineering, sciences and social sciences. It is an initiative of the UNESCO-McGill Chair for Dialogues on Sustainability and is housed in Montreal.