We are on the brink of an unprecedented transformation. The Clean Recovery Breakthrough Series is where thought leaders from across the country will shape that transformation.
Together, we will identify industrial breakthrough opportunities that reduce carbon, attract investment, create jobs…and position Canada as a global leader in the clean recovery.
The Clean Recovery Breakthrough Series features leader dialogues and transactional activities that take us beyond talk to transformational outcomes, beyond recovery to resilience and prosperity.
Energy retrofitting buildings in Canada is essential to a low-carbon future. Residential and commercial retrofits have the potential to reduce emissions, save Canadians money, create thousands of jobs, and grow local manufacturing.
There are 15 million dwellings in Canada, including 10 million single-family homes and five million apartments with a combined floor area of 2.1 billion square metres. The 750 million square metres of commercial and institutional buildings in Canada emit 43 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per year.
Scaling up Canada’s renovation industry so it can transition to a deep-retrofit industry can deliver good jobs and better, more climate-change-resilient homes and workplaces, as well as offer a chance to grow local manufacturing. Greening our buildings will lead to investment and GHG savings today, it will bring costs down for the future and put people back to work.
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Decarbonizing buildings in Canada and beyond is essential to a low carbon future. Residential and commercial energy retrofits and carbon-proofing new builds has enormous potential to reduce emissions, save Canadians money, create thousands of jobs, and grow local manufacturing.
Join partners Corporate Knights and GLOBE Series at the kick-off event of this special track in the Clean Recovery Breakthrough Series: Breakthroughs Inspired by Buildings. This virtual event brought together industry leaders from across the country to discuss how we can accelerate and scale energy retrofits and carbon-proof new buildings in Canada. Questions covered included:
This event was followed by other dialogues and transactional activities that take us beyond talk to transformational outcomes, beyond recovery to resilience and prosperity.
Nature-based solutions can play a vital role in decarbonization, establishing climate resilient communities, creating jobs and protecting biodiversity. Coming on the heels of the first UN Summit on Biodiversity, Scaling Canada’s Nature-Based Solutions: Who, How and What’s Next brings to life examples of scalable, real-world actions that will help Canada meet its commitments to a net-zero carbon future.
Taking a practical look at ‘who,’ ‘what,’ and most importantly, ‘how,’ the session delves into what key players are doing to advance nature-based solutions in Canada. Hear from industry experts in the field of natural climate solutions, with an opportunity to participate in the ‘People’s Panel’ by submitting your questions in advance of the event. Select participants join our panel of nature-based solutions experts and thought leaders on-screen for the question-and-answer segment.
Andre Sobolewski: “The proposal to sequester carbon permanently in forests and soils means that these lands will no longer be available for any other activity that could remobilize this carbon. How will this prohibition be managed and assured for the long term? How will this impact other industries like forestry, mining and agriculture?”
Denise Chang-Yen: Indeed, it is important for us to recognize that NBS does not exist in a vacuum. These projects will be balanced with other economic and social values. While some projects do involve conservation, others include working forests and through methods such reduced impact logging, can lead to forest enhancement while delivering carbon reduction and biodiversity benefits. NBS projects are also possible in the agriculture sector and can be undertaken to enhance soil carbon and soil health.
Morgan Rodwell: “What is the forecast cost to consumers for nature based solutions replacing industrial solutions?”
Roy Brooke: 1. It is not about ‘replacing’ engineered /industrial solutions solutions, but rather, taking a systems/holistic view, ensuring that natural assets are recognized for the full suite of services they provide and that we do not default to engineered assets alone (while giving natural assets an implicit value of zero). 2. Municipal evidence to date suggests that natural assets can provide equivalent services to engineered assets at lower cost plus many co-benefits; in one instance this has been passed along in the form of reduced development cost charges.
David Hunter: “Denise – Has Shell considered investing in Carbon Engineering technology that extracts CO2 from the atmosphere and produces zero emission fuel for existing ICE engines ?”
Denise Chang-Yen: In Canada, Shell is assessing a wide range of zero emissions technologies. We have examined direct air capture technologies, among other carbon abatement opportunities. Some technologies are ready now – and hopefully others will be in the future. We have invested in Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), which has the potential to significantly reduce CO2 emissions from a wide range of industries, including steel, cement, chemicals and power generation. The Shell-operated Quest CCS facility captures and safely stores one million tonnes of CO2 annually, and to date, has captured and stored over 5 million tonnes of CO2. As CCS is a proven technology that is ready to deploy now, we’re looking at opportunities to capture more CO2 from our operations.
Jorden Dye: “Question: Under current global accounting standards emissions from nature (forest fires, peatland destruction, etc.) are not counted in country emission totals. how can emission reductions from nature be then counted? Further in the case of forest carbon credits, are the emissions “returned” to the companies if the forest burns and releases the “offset” carbon? And given that forest fires are increasing in scope and severity, what is the long term stability of nature based solutions?”
Denise Chang-Yen: You bring up an important point. Canada’s NDCs and our approach to managed vs. unmanaged lands must be considered in the accounting for the potential emission reductions from these projects. As some of Canada’s forests are managed, there are opportunities to receive carbon credits. The permanence of the forestry carbon credits is certainly something for consideration given the increasing frequency and severity of forest fires. Many of the carbon crediting systems create buffer pools to help address this concern. Others are evaluating insurance schemes.
Jill Watkins: “Oceans are often identified as an important nature-based solution, especially for absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Much less is said about knock-on negative effects of such absorption, such as ocean acidification and threats to ecosystems. What are your views of relying on nature-based solutions that lead to new problems?”
Denise Chang-Yen: Nature based solutions, and indeed all new technology advances, do need to take into consideration the potential unintended consequences of their use. That said, perhaps helping to keep our natural ecosystems intact or restoring them doesn’t pose the same kind of risk as introducing brand new technology. If we involve stakeholders in the development of these projects to include various perspectives and best practices, it is possible to develop projects that deliver the environmental and social outcomes that we desire.
Separately, GLOBE Series is Canada’s leading sustainability convenor and Corporate Knights is Canada’s leading sustainability media group. Together, they have the networks, platforms and expertise to enable and empower Canada’s thought leaders to innovate and transform our economy. For more information on the Clean Recovery Breakthrough Series, please contact Alice Martin, Director of Innovation, GLOBE Series, or Toby Heaps, Chief Executive Officer, Corporate Knights.