Climate Change and Innovation: A post-Paris Agenda
"Climate Change and Innovation: A post-Paris Agenda" was the topic of the Ottawa Climate Talk, which featured Dr. Camilla Bausch of Ecologic Institute as key-note speaker. It was part of a speaking tour in three provinces in Canada. Discussing topics such as innovation and national and municipal climate and energy policies, Dr. Bausch traded ideas and insights in Ottawa, Montreal and Edmonton. This visit came at a dynamic time in Canadian policy making, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a federal ultimatum for provinces to introduce a carbon pricing plan by 2018 and MPs voted 207 to 81 to back the Paris Agreement.
Dr. Bausch was visiting Canada on the occasion of the Ottawa Climate Talks and the Global Think Tank Summit. The election of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party in 2015 has increasingly prioritized the subject of climate and environment on the Canadian political agenda, leading to an increased interest in exchange and collaboration between Germany and Canada.
The Ottawa Climate Talks is a series of events organized by the German Embassy in Canada. For the session September 2016, Dr. Bausch was invited to provide the keynote address on "The German Energy Transition after Paris – dynamic and innovative?" Further distinguished guests included Jonathan Wilkinson, Iain Stewart (National Research Council) and Paul Preston (The Conference Board of Canada). In the beautiful Barrick Salon of the Canadian Museum of Nature, Dr. Bausch spoke to and provided examples of innovation in the context of climate protection and the German energy transition. Dr. Bausch highlighted innovation dynamics leading to and stemming from the German energy transition, looking in particular at transformation triggers over the last two decades. She elaborated on institutional innovations like the Clearinghouse on the feed-in law, business model innovations like one-stop-shop-solutions for solar-panels in private households as well as technological innovation exemplified by trends in patent registrations. Turning to the present, Dr Bausch reflected on innovation dynamics triggered by the Paris Agreement, elaborating inter alia on the international "Mission Innovation" launched by Germany, Canada and others in 2015 in Paris and the related investors initiative "Breakthrough Energy Coalition". The ensuing debate also highlighted Canadian trends and the role and focus of innovation in the context of global decarbonisation efforts.
The following day, Dr. Bausch spoke at the Ministry of Natural Resources Canada to around 50 representatives from different governmental departments on the subject of "Key building blocks of national energy and climate policies in the light of COP21". There was a great deal of interest in the German experience, while differences with respect to Canada’s role as a major exporter of fossil fuels were discussed. Later Dr. Bausch also spoke to students of the University of Ottawa on the topic of "Subnational energy and climate policies in the light of COP21".
Dr. Bausch’s journey also took her to Western Canada, holding two additional lectures in Edmonton. This is the capital of Alberta, a province which recently elected the New Democrat Party, marking the first time that a centre-left party has won the Alberta election since 1935. Dr. Bausch spoke at the University of Alberta on subnational energy and climate policies in the light of COP21 from a German perspective, followed by a panel discussion with Simon Dyer (Pembina Institute), Amit Kumar (University of Alberta), and Kate Rich (Alberta Climate Change Office). The panel also focused on the Alberta’s current situation as well as plans and options to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. The event was part of the Ottawa Climate Talks and also part of a lecture series organized by the University of Calgary which had already featured German experts like Prof. Manfred Fischedick, Dr. Harry Lehmann and Prof. Dr. Claudia Kemfert.
To mark the end of the whirlwind tour on energy and climate issues, Dr. Bausch had two meetings with the provincial government, addressing representatives from Alberta Energy, Alberta Parks and Alberta Innovates. Dr. Bausch explained key building blocks of regional energy and climate policies in Germany and Europe, looking again at the changes created by the COP21.
During her stay in Canada, Dr. Bausch also took part in the Global Think Tank Summit in Montreal, which was hosted by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) in cooperation with the University of Pennsylvania. The theme of the Summit was "Responding to Globalization and Its Discontents: The Role of Think Tanks." The Think Tank Summit serves to provide a forum for think tanks to share insights as well as best practices and strategies. In this context, Dr. Bausch was called upon to provide some of her experiences leading a think tank.