Creating space for transformative conversations


SFU experts among 60 scholars calling for low-carbon future

March 20, 2015

On Wednesday, March 18 academics from across Canada, including three prominent Simon Fraser University scholars, announced a plan of sustainability solutions in response to the dire consequences of climate change. The solutions will help Canada successfully transition to a low-carbon society.

Called the Sustainable Canada Dialogues (SCD), the group has built consensus on the plan and is encouraging public debate on climate policy in light of the upcoming Canadian election and December 2015 climate summit in Paris.

Among the 60 scientists and scholars calling for a low-carbon economy are SFU Urban Studies professors Anthony Perl and Meg Holden, and SFU Centre for Dialogue and SFU Public Square Executive Director, Shauna Sylvester. SFU Faculty of Environment professor Mark Jaccard served as an external reviewer for the paper.

“It’s better to talk about a post-carbon transition while we still have the time and energy to manage such a transition, rather than waiting for a crisis,” says Perl. “We can’t talk about building a sustainable city without mapping out a path to a post-carbon future. It’s like taking care of our bodies—the longer we put off a visit to the doctor or dentist, the more costly it’s going to be to cure our ills.”

SCD unveiled its climate action position paper at the 2015 Americana International Trade Show on Environmental Technologies, March 17-19, where the group unanimously recommended putting a price on carbon. The paper, entitled "Acting on Climate Change: Solutions from Canadian Scholars," also identifies 10 policy orientations illustrated by actions that could be immediately adopted to kick-start Canada’s necessary transition toward a low carbon economy and sustainable society.

“The release of this plan marks a historic shift in Canada—scientists and academics no longer feel that they can stand on the sidelines while climate change wreaks havoc on our economy and our environment,” says Sylvester. “Never before have so many scholars collaborated to develop solutions for how Canada can move to a low-carbon future. In the absence of a serious national policy on climate change, their plan offers some hopeful strategies for action.”

The full policy document and its executive summary are available on the SCD website.