CICC-NZAB event: Securing prosperity in a net-zero world demands ‘urgency’

A changing climate and global economic trends are already having major impacts across Canada. To thrive in this new world, along with honouring Canada’s commitment to reaching net-zero by 2050, the country must find ways to transition to a net-zero society while securing economic prosperity.

The Net-Zero Advisory Body (NZAB) and Canadian Institute for Climate Choices (CICC) co-hosted an event, Canada’s Net-Zero Economy: Securing Prosperity in a Net-Zero World, on October 25, 2021, aimed at doing just that.

By spotlighting 15 speakers with diverse backgrounds in business, environment, and governance, the discussions highlighted key considerations and practical ideas for pathways that Canada can take to tackle the toughest policy question of the decade. The theme of ‘urgency’ was prominent throughout the 4-hour event. The live panel discussions, individual interviews, video messages, and real-time questions posed by Canadians from around the country provided a platform for frank exchanges and knowledge building.

This important event has set the stage and expectations for Canada’s participation at COP26 in Glasgow and for Canada’s own net-zero plans. It marks an important start to a long-term discussion.

Highlights

  • The Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s new Minister of Natural Resources (previously Minister of Environment and Climate Change), stressed the importance of being proactive in our mission against climate change: “[the] situation is urgent; our runaway is short… being competitive means being at the forefront”.
  • Chris Stark, Chief Executive of the UK’s Climate Change Committee shared lessons learned from the UK, which has reduced carbon emissions by nearly 50 percent since 1990. “We’re beyond ‘sexy’ new targets: implementing targets and delivery is the new mantra”.
  • NZAB co-chairs Marie-Pierre Ippersiel and Dan Wicklum highlighted the 10 values and principles that will guide the NZAB’s work in developing advice on net-zero pathways, and took questions from the virtual audience.
  • Officials from the CICC presented their recent report, Sink or Swim, which assesses the implications of the global low-carbon transition for Canada’s economy, and the strategies that can be used to manage risks, seize opportunities, and drive clean, strong, and inclusive growth.
  • Session 4: The Business of Net-Zero, led by leaders from the energy, transportation, and buildings sectors, looked at ways to ensure Canada remains industrially competitive. There was consensus that a positive transition puts job security and economic prosperity at the centre of decision-making, with the private sector helping to lead the charge.
  • Regional Chief Kluane Adamek, a member of the NZAB and Regional Chief for Yukon, Assembly of First Nations, spoke of the necessity to respect Indigenous rights, climate leadership, and knowledge in charting pathways to net-zero.

Quotes

“Net-zero is not just an environmental policy. It is about the entire economy and requires reimagining society’s structure and systems. And we have no time to wait. The science tells us what must be done and we have an obligation to act.”

Dan Wicklum, Co-Chair of the Net-Zero Advisory Body

“Our mission is clear: to provide the federal Minister of Environment with independent advice on achieving net-zero by 2050. We also have the mandate to engage Canadians across the country about our work.”

Marie-Pierre Ippersiel, Co-Chair of the Net-Zero Advisory Body

“The pressing urgency of climate change is real, and it’s not going away—it’s only going to get stronger. The question isn’t whether the world is going to net-zero. The question is whether Canada will lead or be left behind. So we need to ensure, as Canadians, that our future is positioned for success in this new net-zero economy.”

Rick Smith, President of the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices

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