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Low-carbon study compares strategies for eight countries

VANCOUVER - Canada can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to a fraction of current levels while maintaining or improving living standards and quality of life, according to Low-Carbon Energy Futures: A Review of National Scenarios, an international review released today by the Trottier Energy Futures Project (TEFP).

The TEFP, a joint initiative of the David Suzuki Foundation, The Canadian Academy of Engineering and the Trottier Family Foundation, is developing options for an 80 per cent reduction in Canada's energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.

"The National Scenarios report shows that a low-carbon energy future is within our reach," said Peter Robinson, CEO of the David Suzuki Foundation. "We'll have to change the way we use and produce energy, and think carefully about how energy demand is created, but the Trottier Project is giving us a roadmap to get a tough, important job done," he added.

"This study points to the key elements of a low-carbon energy solution for Canada," said CAE president Richard Marceau, provost and vice-president, academic, of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. "An 80 per cent greenhouse gas reduction is a transformative target, but Canada has always relied on its engineering expertise to meet difficult challenges."

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In Low-Carbon Energy Futures: A Review of National Scenarios, the TEFP summarizes common themes in leading greenhouse gas reduction strategies for eight countries: Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. The study shows that:

• Canada and other industrialized countries have the technology to achieve an 80 per cent reduction in their energy-related greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
• The transition to a low-carbon energy future will be transformative, requiring a boom in clean-energy technologies and low-energy practices at least as significant as the post-Second World War boom in fossil fuel consumption.
• Per capita fuel and electricity consumption is about twice as high in Canada, the U.S. and Australia as it is in France, Germany, Sweden and the U.K. Yet even those countries produced scenarios that targeted 80 per cent reductions in their remaining GHG emissions by 2050.

In all eight countries in the study, deep GHG emission reductions will depend on:

• Major improvements in energy efficiency.
• Greater reliance on electricity for heating, personal transportation and some industrial processes.
• A transition to low- or zero-carbon electricity sources.
• Wider use of biofuels.

Low-Carbon Energy Futures: A Review of National Scenarios is the first of four research reports the Trottier Energy Futures Project will release this year. The TEFP will publish its low-carbon scenarios for Canada by the end of 2013.

Download a copy of the report

For further information, please contact:

Ian Hanington, Communications Manager, David Suzuki Foundation: 604-732-4228, X 1238

Dr. Kevin Goheen, Executive Director, Canadian Academy of Engineering: 613-235-9056

January 22, 2013

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