The Hamilton Spectator
Every day is a step closer to the end of a COVID-19 pandemic that has demonstrated a capacity among all levels of government to quickly develop policies and programs to address an evolving challenge.
Once COVID-19 is behind us, we must marshal the same alacrity in addressing the more existential challenge facing us: climate change.
The federal government recently unveiled its new Climate Plan, detailing a number of initiatives and regulations with the goal of Canada achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Canada is not alone in pursuing aggressive climate change targets, as governments around the world are doing the same. In fact, the City of Hamilton has declared a climate emergency and set its own net-zero targets.
Canada’s plan includes a gradually escalating price on carbon to lower fossil fuel usage and greenhouse gas emissions across the country. Until now, relatively inexpensive fuel costs have helped maintain business-as-usual energy practices.
Given the large volume of emissions at our Bayfront Industrial Area, where thousands of Hamiltonians are employed and hundreds of millions of dollars of exports are created, Hamilton’s economy is particularly vulnerable.
The point of carbon pricing policies, however, is that these increased costs should spur significant investment and research into developing and improving clean technology solutions. And, on cue, Hamilton’s heavy industry players are turning their attention to practices and technologies that can help reduce their carbon output and, hopefully, increase their bottom line.
However, financial incentives and enabling policies from all levels of government must play a crucial role in assisting industry with a green transition. The speed and success of our domestic decarbonization efforts will largely determine Canada’s and Hamilton’s modern, clean industrial advantage over the decades to come.
During the past two years, the Chamber partnered with The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) — a not-for-profit regional climate agency that invests in scalable, low carbon solutions for the GTHA — McMaster University’s W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology, Hamilton Community Energy Inc., and others, to conduct research on the potential to capture waste heat at Hamilton’s Bayfront Industrial Area.