The Paris Climate conference kicked off today, and Prime Minister Trudeau made it known that Canada is back in the game when it comes to clean energy technologies, emission reduction goals and climate negotiations.
Part of that show was a $300 million per year commitment to a new initiative being led by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, U.S. President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande.
The project will focus on developing new technologies for energy storage, as well as advancing the dependable use of clean energy such as solar and wind.
And according to Professor Kathryn Harrison with the Department of Political Science at UBC, Canada’s got some catching up to do.
“Canada’s been talking a mean game for about 25 years in these international meetings, committing to deep reductions and then not delivering.”
In fact, says Harrison, Canada hasn’t even been putting the policies in place to start to make that transition to cleaner energy and lower emissions. She says after 25 years,other countries have shown greater leadership and done more innovating in terms of clean energy.
“It doesn’t mean we can’t start to make progress, it doesn’t mean that we don’t have the capacity to innovate and catch up. But we’re behind at this point.”
On whether or not this new treaty will be binding or not, Harrison says that remains to be seen, but she does think the international community is taking a new approach that is viable and does in fact move us forward.
“The other condition I think that has changed is there’s been a lot that has happened since Kyoto, and even since Copenhagen, in terms of decreases in the cost of alternate energy, in terms of policy initiatives at the national level, at the state and at the local level. So there’s a lot more basis for optimism based on what individual countries are doing.”
She says the most important thing is ensuring the developing countries are on board in terms of clean energy development.