Signs of the growing climate crisis are all around us. Fortunately, signs of the huge potential for a green energy transition that can help us meet critical emission reduction targets are also growing stronger and stronger. Renewable energy deployment is booming worldwide and technologies continue to improve — and drop in cost. Storing energy from intermittent sources like solar and wind is becoming ever more viable thanks to solutions like battery storage banks. Meanwhile, the shift to electric vehicles is accelerating faster than most in the automotive industry ever expected. Interest in things like heat pumps is following a similar faster-than-expected trajectory as people embrace the benefits of high-efficiency, low carbon systems.
This critically important transition will, however, come with new demands for resources and serious environmental impacts. Understanding how to minimize these impacts as we move forward with climate solutions is important to maximize the benefits of adopting green solutions. For example, securing the metals needed to build solar panels or batteries may mean opening many new mines. Everything from where these mines are located to what lower impact alternatives exist (from different technologies to recovered materials) is something that will have to be considered carefully before proceeding. The following principles are meant to address how Canada can approach the fast-moving shift to green technologies in a positive way that makes the most of this transition for our climate and our communities.
CELA contributed to these principles published by Green Prosperity. Green Prosperity is a joint effort of Ontario’s leading environmental organizations to put forward an action agenda for the province that we believe will help make Ontario a world leader in the new green economy.