Action on climate: the role of science and researchers in shifting Canada to a low-carbon economy

On November 30th, leaders from across the globe meet in Paris for the 21st Conference of Parties, to discuss global solutions to climate change. On the eve of this, citizens across the globe are marching in the People's Climate March to demand action to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Climate change is said to be one of the defining issues of our era, which poses a threat to our economic stability and environmental integrity. There is a growing consensus of scholars that for Canada, a sustainable path forward requires transitioning to a low-carbon economy. In this challenging task, what role should Canada's scientists play?

Evidence for Democracy was asked to contribute to the Sustainable Canada Dialogues project, which brings together experts and community groups to help guide the nation's transition to a low-carbon future. You can read E4D's contribution, On the Role of Canada's Scientists In Transitioning to a Low-Carbon Futurehere. Members of our Network of Experts offered their advice on how to successfully implement better climate policies, and move our economy away from unsustainable energy. 

On the Role of Canada's Scientists in Transitioning to a Low-Carbon Future makes four key recommendations for climate policy implementation:

  • Federal government leadership on climate and emissions policies, with recognition of scientific evidence for both emissions scenarios projections and low-carbon alternatives;
  • Increased funding support for federal scientific and monitoring institutions, particularly those engaged in data collection for air quality, water quality, and demographic information;
  • Sufficient funding to academic researchers engaged in non-commercial science, such as basic science, environmental research, and health research;
  • Climate and emissions policies and regulations that are transparent and informed by the best available evidences

As Canada's government enters into the COP21 climate negotiations in Paris this week, the international community is watching. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and ministers have already been briefed by top climate scientists ahead of the conference, setting a promising tone. Whether the outcome of the negotiations support a low carbon future--and support for the science and evidence needed to ensure that transition--will be seen over the coming weeks.

Alana Westwood

Coordonnatrice de la recherche

Alana Westwood mène le programme national de recherche de SD, coordonne le Réseau d’experts, et conçoit et organise les ateliers de formation.