The title of this note comes from a 1965 hit song. It is surprisingly relevant today. For a hit of nostalgia or a little history go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfZVu0alU0I
The subject of this note is much more optimistic.
On September 19, 2014 the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project published its 2014 report. The Chapter on Canada is available at the link below. A pathway is not a forecast, but rather an illustrative scenario designed to identify technology-related needs, challenges, uncertainties, and opportunities
The Report was presented at the United Nations Climate Summit on September 23, 2014.
Similar reports are available for Australia, the USA and a dozen other countries. They show, for example how Australia can achieve net zero emissions by 2050 using present-day technologies while maintaining economic prosperity. The US can reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Canada can reduce emissions by 90% relative to 2010 levels.
The studies all allow for growing GDP per capita and growing population. In Canada they show how to achieve nearly complete decarbonization of the buildings, transportation, and electricity sectors. The remaining emissions come primarily from industry.
Canada can take action to decarbonize in four areas:
1) deepened energy efficiency;
2) decarbonization of the electricity sector;
3) Fuel switching to lower carbon fuels (e.g. electricity, transport biofuels and hydrogen);
4) Direct GHG reduction for industrial processes and thermal heat generation
These studies are not the only only ones mapping out feasible paths to bring carbon dioxide emissions to or near zero. This is the kind of work that Environment Canada was about to begin back when Mr Harper came to power. He clearly didn’t want to know it could be done. Why? Probably because of a deep and irrational attachment to the revenues he thought would be generated by the fossil fuel industries.
In any case, the studies are being done, just not by Canada.
Mr Harper, instead, proposes that we “stay the course,” which happens to be the road to warming of 4 degrees Celsius. He is almost alone in that position now, but he could be elected. If he is, “staying the course” will mean that Canada drives closer to the brink of disaster. That’s where the Barry McGuire hit comes in.
People more connected to the real world know there is another pathway.