Com­mit­tee dis­cusses cli­mate change strate­gies

At­ten­dees voice con­cerns that Canada will not meet its goals

The McGill Daily - - Contents - Lizzie Grieco News Writer

Stu­dents gath­ered on Wed­nes­day Feb­ru­ary 8 at the Mcgill Univer­sity Fac­ulty Club to dis­cuss the chal­lenges of tran­si­tion­ing to a low-car­bon econ­omy with the Se­nate of Canada’s “Stand­ing Com­mit­tee for En­ergy, the En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources.”

The open fo­rum, or­ga­nized by the Trot­tier In­sti­tute for Sus­tain­abil­ity in En­gi­neer­ing and De­sign (TISED) based in Mcgill Univer­sity’s Fac­ulty of En­gi­neer­ing, al­lowed stu­dents to present their opin­ions and ques­tions con­cern­ing new en­vi­ron­men­tal tech­nol­ogy, the eco­nomic costs and ben­e­fits of car­bon re­duc­tion, and the Univer­sity’s role in con­duct­ing car­bon-re­duc­tion re­search and pro­mo­tion.

In at­ten­dance was the Com­mit­tee’s chair­man Richard Neufeld, deputy chair­man Paul Mas­si­cotte, and com­mit­tee mem­bers Diane Grif­fin and Rosa Galvez.

The pur­pose of the com­mit­tee, Neufeld said, is to iden­tify “what so­lu­tions and tech­nolo­gies ex­ist to­day or that are in devel­op­ment to re­duce emis­sions and fight cli­mate change.”

The fo­rum mainly con­sisted of ques­tions con­cern­ing the com­mit­tee’s opin­ion on where the fo­cus of car­bon-re­duc­tion should be. Stu­dents and com­mu­nity mem­bers alike pro­moted a new fo­cus on a mul­ti­tude of fac­tors.

Cer­tain at­ten­dees en­cour­aged the com­mit­tee to stay fo­cused on car­bon-re­duc­tion tech­nolo­gies that al­ready ex­ist rather than di­rect­ing their re­sources at new in­no­va­tions. Oth­ers com­bat­ted this idea by ar­gu­ing for an in­crease of fund­ing to­wards univer­sity re­search and the devel­op­ment of new tech­nol­ogy.

The main point of con­tention, how­ever, was whether the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment’s goals will be reached by 2030, goals which in­clude lim­it­ing global tem­per­a­ture in­crease to two de­grees Cel­sius.

While Galvez pre­sented an op­ti­mistic vi­sion of achiev­ing th­ese goals by at­tack­ing from dif­fer­ent an­gles and cre­at­ing a culture of change, Neufeld re­sponded that he is “very con­cerned that we will not meet our tar­gets.”

In­stead of fo­cus­ing on cur­rent car­bon-re­duc­tion tar­gets, Neufeld pro­posed that we “worry about the con­se­quences of cli­mate change, [...] or­ga­nize our so­ci­ety, [...] and get pre­pared for the even­tu­al­ity of maybe not achiev­ing [our cur­rent re­duc­tion tar­get of] two de­grees Cel­sius.”

A com­mon con­cern among at­ten­dees was the change in qual­ity of life that may result from new car­bon re­duc­tion tech­nolo­gies and prac­tices. The com­mit­tee re­sponded to th­ese points by stat­ing that Cana­di­ans will have to change their way of life to en­sure that car­bon emis­sions are re­duced.

“We have to change our habits and the way we con­sume some types of prod­ucts and re­place them,” as­serted Galvez. “Re­searchers are mak­ing ef­forts to re­place ma­te­ri­als with re­new­able ma­te­ri­als [...] we have to put em­pha­sis on th­ese prob­lems.”

While most of the ques­tions fo­cused on spe­cific sug­ges­tions for the com­mit­tee, cer­tain stu­dents ques­tioned the com­mit­tee’s stance on con­tro­ver­sial eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal gov­ern­ment mea­sures.

One par­tic­u­lar ques­tion per­tained to the Kinder-morgan ex­pan­sion of the Trans Moun­tain Pipe­line and its im­pact on Indige­nous peo­ples.

“How is [the fed­eral gov­ern­ment],” asked a stu­dent, “jus­ti­fy­ing ex­tend­ing an oil project [...] on the land of the Tsleil-wau­tuth na­tion?”

Neufeld, ac­knowl­edg­ing his pre­vi­ous in­volve­ment in the oil and gas in­dus­try in Bri­tish Columbia, in­sisted that oil will con­tin­u­ally be used as a nat­u­ral re­source in the fu­ture.

“It has to get out to mar­kets” he claimed, “to ac­tu­ally keep us en­joy­ing the type of life that we have to­day.”

Mas­si­cotte added, “it’s a very com­pli­cated is­sue [...] the gov­ern­ment over­all is quite re­cep­tive and all of us wish and hope for bet­ter re­la­tions with our First Na­tions [...] but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have se­ri­ous dis­cus­sions and dis­agree­ments on cer­tain is­sues.”

“We have to change our habits and the way con­sume some types of prod­ucts and re­place them.” —Rosa Galvez Com­mit­tee mem­ber “How is [the fed­eral gov­ern­ment] jus­ti­fy­ing ex­tend­ing an oil project [...] on the land of the Tsleil-Wau­tuth na­tion? —At­tendee

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.