In late October, all eyes will focus on the UN Climate Change Summit in Glasgow, which has been billed as the last best chance for the world to come together to prevent climate disaster. After the recent Canadian election where climate policies were a top issue, Canada will be expected to demonstrate even greater international leadership on reducing emissions.
What’s at stake in this year’s UN Climate Change Summit in Glasgow, and what implications could this have for the energy transition and economic growth of Canada? Watch our expert panel unpacked this and more as part of our latest Power Breakfast.
Speaker 1: (silence) [00:00:30] It takes an energy mix to meet Ontario's future needs affordably and reliably. That's why we're advancing low carbon solutions, greening the natural gas supply with breakthrough technologies. See [00:01:00] how we're leading Ontario's clean energy transition.
Roselle Martino: Good [00:01:30] morning, everyone. My name is Roselle Martino. I'm the vice [00:02:00] president of public policy at the Toronto Region Board of Trade.
Some of you may know the Board's policy work is driven by our member led policy committees, all made up of business leaders who helped to ensure that the Toronto Region lives up to its current and future potential. One of these committees focuses on the energy transition which includes the urgent questions our panel will be discussing today.
Before we get to that, however, I'd like to begin today's webcast by acknowledging that Toronto is home to many diverse indigenous peoples. Though you could be watching [00:02:30] from anywhere, the Board's offices are located on the traditional territories of nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabe, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples. As we discuss best how to sustain the land we call home, it's important to acknowledge its original and continuing stewards.
Just a few housekeeping details. The webcast and its entire Power Breakfast Series is made possible by its presenting sponsor, Ontario Power Generation, the series partners [00:03:00] Bruce Power, Enbridge, Hydro One SNC-Lavalin, the University of Toronto, and the Power Workers Union as well. All Board webcasts are supported by its principal sponsors, The Globe and Mail, Scotiabank, and the University of Toronto.
This webcast is being recorded and you can watch it or any of the other sessions at supportbusiness.bot.com. If you're having technical issues, select Click Here to refresh the stream to view an [00:03:30] alternative broadcast or select the Help button in the lower right corner and someone will be in touch.
Finally, you can ask me a question at any time through the questions tab to the right.
With that, we start today's Power Breakfast event which is a conversation about the United Nations Climate Change Conference starts in Glasgow later this month.
I mentioned at the top that the future of the energy sector is a substantial topic to address but not because we're uncertain about [00:04:00] what we must achieve. Governments around the world are increasingly clear we must achieve net zero emissions. Canada has pledged to reach that goal by 2050 and the UN conference is sure to put pressure on the countries to commit to plans that will achieve that target.
The Board and our committee support this goal. We believe there's a cost effective, business friendly way to reach it. For instance, most of us would say that switching [00:04:30] fuel from high emitting sources to electricity is our best path to net zero. But this must be paired with maintaining and affordable electricity system, one that also can manage a major uptake of electrified space heating and zero emission vehicles.
We highlighted this and other priorities in a document that Board released this summer called Principles for Clean Transition. You can read it yourself by going to bot.com and selecting Reports.
These principles help maintain public and [00:05:00] business support for energy transition and ensure the region is well positioned to seize on economic opportunities because there are many.
In fact, Cleantech alone is predicted to exceed 3.3 billion, I'm sorry 3.3 trillion, I beg your pardon in the global market value by the end of next year.
We look ahead at the discussions at the UN conference. We also need to consider what new opportunities this might present for innovators and businesses here at home.
[00:05:30] That brings us back to today's conversation which I'm really excited about, about what can we expect from the conference and how can our region assert itself as a leader in the space.
Our next speaker is no stranger to energy leadership. Here with greetings from today's presenting sponsor is Heather Ferguson, OPG, senior vice president business development and strategy and corporate affairs. Heather, over to you.
Heather Ferguso...: Morning, everyone. [00:06:00] It's my pleasure to welcome you to this morning's Power Breakfast hosted by the Toronto Region Board of Trade. And we are very proud to be the presenting sponsor going four-year strong on this front, I believe.
I was introduced already. My name is Heather Ferguson. I'm with OPG senior vice president of business development strategy and corporate affairs.
On October 31st, the U.K. will be hosting the 26th UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, [00:06:30] in Glasgow and the summit will bring together world leaders and government officials to deal with what I really think in many things is the challenge of our generation and how do we accelerate the actions towards the goals of the Paris Agreement in the UN framework.
So late last year, we, OPG, delivered our climate change commitments to the public and we've developed a plan to be a net zero company by 2040 and perhaps even more importantly, though, a catalyst for a net zero carbon [00:07:00] economy by 2050 and keeping with the overall goals.
We believe though that climate change, it's going to require an all hands on deck approach, many technologies, many smart ideas, many, many approaches. But we also believe that nuclear really must play a role in this.
And in Ontario, we're very, very fortunate to have a clean electricity system that we have. One that's clean, affordable, and reliable. And the backbone of that system is nuclear, and hydro I would also add, but [00:07:30] nuclear is a big, big part of that.
We also think that small modular reactors, SMR technologies are going to be critical to this approach as well.
I don't think we're alone in this thinking. I think there's increasing evidence and views that without nuclear playing some form of a role, there is no path to net zero. So I think we'll have a really good conversation with the panelists today around that.
We think Ontario has an opportunity to secure a net zero future and [00:08:00] OPG is well positioned to lead and drive this. But as we said, you need to balance economic and environmental aspects as well.
So on that front, though, we will soon be launching a net zero needs nuclear campaign and we've developed this campaign in partnership with Bruce Power so stay tuned for that. We're not going to be getting into that today but want to just get people's minds wrapped around that. But we do have a campaign that we wanted to introduce you to that we've recently developed that targets a much, [00:08:30] much younger audience as you'll see when you see it but this younger audience is incredibly important when you think about the climate change conversation that's happening not just in Ontario and Canada but around the world.
So wanted to just share this with you. It's had pretty good success so far, pretty good uptake. It's been targeting social media platforms that are much more geared to a younger audience, so TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram. But if I can queue that up, I just wanted to share that with the audience here to see how things are shaping up.
Pelly: Hey, [00:09:00] besties. I'm Pelly, a uranium pellet, aka the nuclear part of Ontario's energy mix.
Some of you have asked how we like to spend our time. Hmm, group stuff mostly. We're a solid team. Seriously. Check my link in the bio for more ways we're working together like powering our way into a carbon free future. Okay, bye.
[00:09:30] You have to stop underestimating yourself. If eight little uranium pellets like me can power a house for a whole year while helping the planet, just think what we can all accomplish together. Like whoa.
Nothing but love to my friends. But no cap, sometimes, it's cloudy or there's no wind or whatever. But nuclear? I'm always on the clock. Net zero time is coming. Whoa.
Heather Ferguso...: [00:10:00] So I think that gives you a flavor of our message is, trying to reach a younger audience to illustrate the role that all these technologies are going to play together. It's going to be an all hands on deck approach. But clearly, there is a role for nuclear in that. So I'm glad we could share that.
So now it's my pleasure to introduce you to your moderator for today's session, but [00:10:30] Fatima Syed. Fatima is a Mississauga-based journalist with The Narwhal and host of The Backbench podcast. She's worked for The Walrus, the Toronto Star, The Logic, and the National Observer where she established the outlets Queen's Park bureau with an emphasis on coverage of environmental and energy policy. She's also the vice president of the Canadian Association of Journalists.
So thank you for being here with us, Fatima, and I'll hand it over to you now.
Fatima Syed: Thanks so much, Heather. And hello, everyone. [00:11:00] It's my pleasure to introduce you to your panelists for this Power Breakfast series.
We've got Catherine McKenna who you all know as a Former Minister of Environment and Climate Change until 2019. She was also Minister of Infrastructure and Communities from 2019 to 2021. She recently announced that she would not seek reelection to focus on her three children and on scaling climate and nature solutions globally.
We've also got Ken Hartwick who is OPG's president and CEO. [00:11:30] Ken joined OPG in March 2016 as chief financial officer and the senior vice president of finance. In that role, Ken also lead the launch of Canada's first utility green bond as well as OPG's expansion to the United States through the acquisition of Eagle Creek Renewable Energy.
And finally, Professor Scott Mabury. He's the vice president of operations and real estate partnerships at the University of Toronto. He's got tri-campus oversight of matters pertaining to space including planning and [00:12:00] capital projects and IT infrastructure and services. He joined the University as the first faculty member in environmental chemistry and later helped lead the creation of undergraduate and graduate programs in this area.
Very happy to be here. Hello to you all.
So this conversation is to set the landscape for what we're heading into with Glasgow and COP26. So I'm going to start with someone who's been there. Catherine, can you set the table for us? What's at [00:12:30] stake in this year summit? What are the major items on the agenda that could have implications for Canada?
Catherine McKen...: Well, for anyone who's been to COPs or Coplandia as I like calling it, here's the thing. There are always a number of issues that are being discussed both in the main corridors and then there are other issues that are being discussed outside of that.
But really, there are two big issues in terms of the COP agenda and of course, they all have implications for Canada because [00:13:00] how ambitious we are in tackling climate change and how much support we give to developing countries has an impact on us.
So two issues. One is ambition and this really means to have countries set new targets. You saw that Canada went to the summit, President Biden had a summit a few months ago. We announced new ambition targets of reducing emissions by 40 to 45%. A number of other countries have done that. But the challenge is we're still very far [00:13:30] above the temperature target of the Paris Agreement which is staying well below two degrees striving for 1.5 degrees.
There's going to be a lot of attention to see will China, for example, announced new targets, other countries like India, key emitters. So that's one.
The second issue that is extremely important is financing for developing countries. This is a conversation, the pathway to $100 billion per year for developing [00:14:00] countries. It's been on the agenda since I was at COP in 2015. And this is actually a very special role. Canada has Minister Wilkinson. I guess we'll see whether he'll remain in that portfolio. But Canada with Germany is responsible for getting the cash, I guess. They have to make sure that we have $100 billion in government money.
Now, of course, that's not the whole story because the transition is trillions of dollars, it's not $100 billion per year but this is grant money [00:14:30] from governments. I think we're pretty close but we're not there yet. But if we do not, i.e. the developed world, come up with $100 billion per year, this will not be a successful COP because the developing countries will not stand for it.
And I think we'll have a chance, Fatima, to talk a bit more about other initiatives. There's obviously initiatives... Mark Carney is playing a significant role and I think that's really important some of the other things that happen at COP.
Fatima Syed: Yeah, no thank you for that high level setting up, Catherine. We'll get into [00:15:00] specifics later on in this conversation, but I want to start by just getting a sense of where everyone's at as we approach Glasgow.
Can OPG launched its climate change plan in 2020 and pledged to be carbon neutral as a company by 2040 while also helping communities where you operate to achieve net zero by 2050? Can you tell us about some of the actions the company is taking to meet those pledges? And how much are they influenced by summits like Paris or Glasgow?
Ken Hartwick: So I'd really just pick up on [00:15:30] Catherine's comments that I think the importance of COP and other initiatives like this is to set out a goal, inspirational or otherwise, because I think everyone recognizes we have to get there. And I agree. We have to get there sooner than what we're anticipating because the biggest problem of setting any goal is assume you'll get it all in the last year so we leave it right to the end and then get it. It doesn't work like that.
And that's the approach we took at OPG [00:16:00] where we said, "Okay, let's put our climate plan out," which we did at the end of last year, "let's ensure we have targets that get us there in 2040. Now, let's aspire to get there sooner. And let's make sure the stuff we're doing actually results in some of the change happening at the front end of the plan," because plans and targets are like intentions. They're all really good but they don't mean anything if you don't follow up with the actions.
That's where [00:16:30] Catherine's comments around the funding for some of the developing parts of the world. We have to get there. We have to help these countries have a path forward that helps them achieve economic success.
I view the OPG plan a real microcosm of the world, obviously, it's Ontario predominantly very much focused on how do we get there sooner. And as Heather mentioned at the beginning, I think it's all forms of technologies. It's all types of innovation including things that [00:17:00] we don't even know yet and I think that's what we should all be optimistic on in a place like Canada. We're far more innovative than what we give ourselves credit for.
So part of the solutions, when we put out our plan, I can tell you, we did not have a clear path to net zero by '40. We probably have 70% of it figured out, or at least our thought. The other 30, we will figure out and that's relying on the innovation of others, but I'm a big believer, it's all technologies. There's not one answer that's going to work. [00:17:30] There's not one approach that's going to work. But I hope companies like ours and others try to front end the effort because if we can make inroads now, the back 10% anything is harder to do. But then you have more time to deal with the back 10%. And that's really the approach we took on our climate plan that we put out.
Fatima Syed: Thanks, Ken, and again, we'll get into some of the specifics of the technologies you're talking about later on in this conversation.
Professor Scott, a similar question to you. How did [00:18:00] the University of Toronto respond to the Paris talks? And how can universities support the global drive to net zero and what are the challenges of doing so?
Scott Mabury: Good morning, everybody. And thank you to the Toronto Board of Trade for me to join and talk a little bit about what the University of Toronto is doing. We hope and plan that our changes and commitments will lead to a stronger and more livable city and of course, hopefully creating lots of jobs in that process.
Reality check for the University of Toronto is that over the [00:18:30] next three decades, the footprint of the downtown campus will double. We're going to double the amount of buildings and square footage. At the same time, and picking up the cudgel of the two previous speakers, is we've set a goal and plan how to become climate positive by 2050. We will go beyond net zero and produce more clean energy than we consume.
That is a rather ambitious target. [00:19:00] The fact that we have a plan for it, how to execute it, and frankly, how to fund it, 1.3 billion, over the next 28 years is key to that.
Really our research, university of our caliber, top 20 in the world as a research and teaching mission, we are lots about... We're very energy intensive. There is demand for space from the innovation community. I'll get to that a little bit later. But we are building a 750,000 [00:19:30] square foot innovation complex, the Schwartz Reisman Innovation campus here at college and university. We're almost to the top out on phase one of that that will house artificial intelligence. And then phase two will hopefully start shortly after for a biomedical complex.
But specifically what is U of T done, since 2000, we have reduced by 50,000 times our carbon emissions while adding 25 [00:20:00] more buildings. By 2030, we'll be 37% below 1990 levels. We're building right now the largest urban geo exchange system in Canada in the heart of our campus around King's College Circle, 375 850 foot geo exchange wells. That will save us offset 15,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each and every year. The above ground [00:20:30] part of that is removing all the cars out of that and expanded green space.
We have real challenges. We're a pretty old campus and university. Our central power plant and district energy is 120 years old. These are some of the oldest university buildings in the country. We're going to be retrofitting these to use less steam.
As I said, we're going to spend 1.3 billion to produce, distribute, and conserve. We will fund this through direct budget [00:21:00] allocations capturing and directing utility savings and carbon tax avoidance. We'll have plugin fees for new buildings and we're seeking out partnerships in both the public and private sector.
We are currently planning these investments in the context of relatively limited support from the government. We must address really an $800 million deferred backlog of deferred maintenance. We will be sharing our commitments and our [00:21:30] actions with other universities that our network, were part of the University Climate Change Coalition. We led the development of investing to address climate change charter with McGill University and we hope to serve as a model for other institutions, not least of which not simply making a pledge, but delivering a plan that is auditable is to how we're going to get there.
Fatima Syed: Thanks, Scott.
Catherine McKen...: Fatima, I don't know if we're allowed to intervene, but I just want to say a huge kudos [00:22:00] to OPG and U of T.
One of the things about COPs you notice is that governments, subnational, sub-provinces, municipal governments, but also organizations, businesses often make pledges going into the COP because they know there's going to be a lot of attention and I think that's a really positive thing because ambition is not just federal governments or national governments, it's got to be everyone.
Fatima Syed: Catherine, you basically set up my next question because I was going to ask, [00:22:30] as minister, you've often mentioned the need for all voices to be around the table when it comes to climate action, from indigenous groups to corporations and other organizations. So how do you actually bring everyone together to meet these global targets, not just pledge them and reconcile differences in opinion?
Catherine McKen...: Well, it's interesting. To anyone who's listening, stay tuned, I'm going to be launching a new initiative for women and girls around the world showcasing their action because I think one of the problems [00:23:00] with COPs let's just be clear, it's quite an elite event and the focus is rightly on national governments because they're the ones who are parties to the convention. But we also need everyone.
Look, I always think it's important to have unusual suspects at the table. That's something we did when we built our climate plan. We had indigenous peoples, we had businesses, we had environmentalists, we had scientists, we had youth. So you [00:23:30] really do need to do that.
But I think everyone just needs to dig deep. So I just always encourage folks like... It's not like a nice to have climate action, it's like we're going to survive as a species, are we going to be able to hand down a sustainable planet to our kids, and it's pretty serious business. It's not about balancing, it's actually just about science and emissions either go up and down.
Look at these, these are great initiatives of folks are doing. [00:24:00] I think it is important that government helps support. You'd see I was a minister of infrastructure and communities. We do make investments in low carbon infrastructure. The same working with organizations on the technology side and then there was talk about small modular reactors, potentially part of the solution. I'm technology agnostic. We just need to get there.
But I've seen a lot of good initiatives. Let's just [00:24:30] talk about one. Mark Carney had his Net-Zero Banking Alliance. And you might say, "Well, what's the big deal about that?" Well, we needed billions to turn into trillions and a little bit late to the party but good to be there. The Canada's six largest banks joined on to the Net-Zero Banking Alliance which means they're going to align their lending and investment portfolios to Net-Zero by 2050. Why is that so important? Because if you continue to invest in fossil fuels, we're not going to get there. It was just impossible, right?
Having said [00:25:00] that, it's complicated and I'm not unaware of the situation right now in Europe and China with respect to coal. So I think as you do the transition, it's not that we don't have to be ambitious. And I hate the fact that sometimes renewables take the brunt of this. It's not renewables fault that the sun doesn't always shine and the wind doesn't always blow. It's the lack of planning. You have to figure out the energy mix. We need to also electrify everything which is going to put more pressure on the grid. So we just have to be really ambitious and figure [00:25:30] out how to do that.
But I think to your broader question, COPs are... It's impossible to bring everyone to the table because the focus, it really is on now implementing the Paris Agreement. But I think everyone within their own communities needs to really think how do I contribute to this, that's individuals, that's businesses and networks of business, that's indigenous peoples. They're already doing a ton of work and a lot [00:26:00] of work including on protecting nature.
I think everyone just needs to be part of it. It's going to be messy. That's the thing about climate actions. Some like very nice thing, it's going to be super orderly, and we're all going to just be able to sit around a table and kumbaya and we've managed to tackle climate change.
It's going to be every single day people digging deeper and recognizing that it's not just about how challenging is, it's about a huge economic opportunity, it's about innovation, [00:26:30] it's about whether Canada is going to be competitive because by the way, we have a choice.
There are other countries that are vying to be the leaders in the technology and the solutions of the future so we either go all in and really figure out how we can raise ambition or we will lose and that means that our economy will suffer.
And it's also just reminding ourselves that ultimately, it's about a sustainable future for our kids and you can't negotiate that. You can't negotiate with science, science is a science, [00:27:00] we need to have net zero. But that's not to get in a jail free card, you need to peak by 2030 and everyone has to do the hard work.
Fatima Syed: And speaking of big challenges, Ken, we recently had a report from the International Energy Agency that showed Canada was going to experience a decline in oil supply by the end of the decade. They urged the tripling of clean energy investments. And I know Catherine talked about having that messy conversation about how to get there. [00:27:30] How important is it for you that Ontario reach a fully zero carbon grid and what timeline do you think would be feasible for that goal?
Ken Hartwick: So I start with the expression NIMBY, not in my backyard. I think we need to start thinking about NIMBY as the world and that's what COP tries to pull together, that view. And so Ontario is just a microcosm of what we try to accomplish.
I don't think the task is actually as hard as people think, certainly not in Canada. Yeah, we have the luxury [00:28:00] of overall in the provinces having a very clean grid, certain pockets that we have to clean up. But in a way, we start off in a very privileged position as far as the amount of effort we need to do.
At OPG. I don't really view it as a hard task. We close the coal plants, we have an abundance of different types of resources, and to pick up on Catherine's comment which I agree, a lot of this now, if you want to get somewhere by 2030, you need to take your goals which [00:28:30] your intentions which we did in our climate plan and then you need to say what are the specific actions I'll accomplish in '22, and '23 and '24 recognizing these things change. And that's really what we set out to do.
Going back to the thought of NIMBY, again, when we think about climate, every technology has its positives and its negatives. Nuclear has ours... In our case, we have lots of... There's byproducts to deal with and that needs to be managed. Solar [00:29:00] has theirs. It does not come in a box and get put on a roof. It's manufactured, it's mined. We need to take that whole lifecycle of every technology and start to say how do we ensure that's done in a responsible way.
This comes into a little bit of what Mark Carney in the financing side and what's been done with the 100 billion is, can the whole lifecycle of what we do across these technologies be done in a sustainable way and that's where I think Canada can easily lead because again, [00:29:30] we have our own problems as a country when it comes to this. But on a relative basis, we're an amazing place. But it is time to lead and help others around the world and also ourselves take those steps.
Like I said at OPG, our thing was established goals, measure against it, and like what Scott said as far as these need to be auditable. I want someone who will hold ourselves accountable but I want this group here to look back in 2022 and say, "Well, did you actually do anything? [00:30:00] Or did you just roll your targets forward a year or you're going to back end it all?" I want to be accountable for having done something every year.
What I think really comes through or what's really interesting is our employee belief in that is exceptionally high. I think the days of people not thinking that this is a problem are passed for 95% of people around the world, but at our employee level, so this is why I like Scott walks through, they're going to do the [00:30:30] various things that Scott described.
That's what we need. We need from every company, every institution, and then we need governments to line up behind it very aggressively and say, "If you start to do those things, we'll help you to the extent that policies are required, whether it's tax policy or environmental policy, whatever the case might be," and be that catalyst.
Like I said, at OPG, we said 2040, the Ontario system, to put it in perspective and this is just my view, will need to double if everything electrifies. [00:31:00] So if you think about the challenge in doubling the size of the power system in Ontario, if every bus, car, building, the various things that need to electrify, all do, that is a massive undertaking and that takes years to do. But we have to start now. There is no, "Let's do this in 2029." My view is we're way too late. And that's where I think government and businesses who I think are working well together now can really accelerate their thought process.
Say [00:31:30] we chip away at this problem in '21, '22, '23 and then let's say it's like home renovations, last 10% when you get to them, those are hard to do. But then at least you have a bit of time to do them. And then I think the world will follow countries like us. The good thing about our standing on the world is people look at Canada and say, "That's a pretty good model to get to." But if we don't do anything for the next two, three, four, or five years, why would anybody follow us? They shouldn't.
[00:32:00] I just view Ontario as a microcosm of the way we need to start thinking about, not in my backyard, but not in my backyard is the globe, in my view.
Fatima Syed: Well, Scott, you touched on some of the challenges as well that Ken is talking about when it comes to bringing all the voices around the table and really pushing to be a leader in developing new solutions and technologies. You mentioned funding, for example, is one challenge. Are there other challenges in reaching net zero or [00:32:30] reaching these climate pledges for an institution like the University of Toronto?
Scott Mabury: There are. And as Ken said, there are things we're going to rely on that we don't even know yet. So we need to discover and invent things. And then we need to, for really the quality of life in Canada, make sure we innovate and develop them here.
Toronto in particular needs to ensure the ecosystem is here, that can turn ideas and inventions into innovation and to [00:33:00] support and advise companies, need to open new and larger markets.
Here at the University of Toronto, we spend a little over a billion dollars a year in research funding between the partner hospitals and U of T. We have unique research capacities and capabilities, both breadth and depth, in energy storage and transmission, decarbonisation, building secure power grids, etc. We're leveraging these strengths to produce transformational solutions to global challenges, such as climate [00:33:30] change, because we have institutional strategic initiatives, very focused efforts to break down silos, to bring people together from across the campus.
Our clean tech and renewable energy projects have attracted almost a half a billion in research funding specifically, our newest is a climate positive energy initiative. It focuses on adoption, commercialization, and market creation of clean tech solutions. We have 90 PIs, principal investigators, [00:34:00] across eight faculties, 28 divisions, tackling the technological, the political, the societal factors that pose barriers to achieving what we need to.
The project will help really our talent and emerging researchers understand the relationship between technology, society, policy, and climate. Just the clean tech startups over the last few years have raised 300 million recently to [00:34:30] develop these companies. We have 10 campus led accelerators across our three campuses. UTEST, in particular, is one with an excellent track record of helping companies bring their ideas to market while protecting their intellectual property.
One example is [inaudible 00:34:48]. It competed in the what was it called? The moonshot for carbon dioxide conversion into carbon based fuels. [00:35:00] Was very competitive. It produces feedstock. We have brought that back from Alberta where it was competing and installed it in our central steam plan. This was developed by Ted Sargent and colleagues here in engineering, his grad students and postdocs. We are using it to reduce our carbon emissions, to produce usable materials that will ultimately supplant oil based materials.
I think this [00:35:30] is all part not just in climate change but in other areas. Canada is a very inventive country. We're not really great yet at innovation, at turning those inventions into value for the country. This is going to help us do better overall.
Fatima Syed: Ken and Scott, you both mentioned accountability at one point and I love to get all three of your takes on this. A lot of the climate discourse has been about pledges and promises and commitments. [00:36:00] Scott, you mentioned having an auditable plan, can you mention perhaps there needs to be some sort of accountability measure in place for other organizations? What are organizations doing to hold themselves accountable for meeting or not meeting these commitments especially considering we've now gotten a second IPCC report since Paris that says we need to act even faster?
I'll open the floor to anyone who wants to take that.
Ken Hartwick: Do you want me to start? Maybe I'll start on the banking [00:36:30] side-
Fatima Syed: Sure.
Ken Hartwick: ... then have others chime in?
Yeah, I think a big part, if you look for what we're financing now, we have a big green bond program, we have a sustainable linked financing program. And as the financial institutions evolved to say, "Okay, we're going to lend you money or in different forms but you are going to be accountable now to report against what you have spent that money on." So is it furthering a climate goal, a climate beneficial project?
[00:37:00] This, to me, is a really good starting point. Now, it's not really that well developed. I think as this gets more globalized and is made common country to country, it will be an important step in holding people accountable because in part, if you take money from someone, whether it's your parents or whether it's a bank, they typically want to have a view that you spent it wisely or spend it the way you said you would. I think that's a big part of the accountability model.
The second part [00:37:30] is, and again, where financial reporting tends to be going now, which I'm a big, big believer in is if we've said, we're going to do something, our 2040 goals and the path along the way, I and the organization or board of directors should be accountable to reporting against that, making it very visible so anyone who's interested can look at it and say, "Did you do something?"
Because I find what's really lacking, and this is lacking in Canada, the U.S., this is lacking [00:38:00] in the developed world actually the most is the accountability is very fuzzy. There's really no reporting against it, there's really no, "Did I actually do anything I said I was going to do or I just update my plan and a glossy brochure every year?"
This needs to change because like anything, the minute you're accountable, the minute people can look at it, regulators can look at it, governments can look at it, banks can look at it, you will either start to do the things you'll say or you'll stop saying the things you have no intention of doing. [00:38:30] Both of those are good. I'd rather everyone do the things they say. But then it becomes very clear.
And then I think capital flows to those people, those companies, those institutions that are making a meaningful impact. Money is a funny thing. It causes behaviors to act the right way if there's accountability wrapped around it.
Scott Mabury: I will add for the university sector.
Every university has made some kind of pledge around 2050. [00:39:00] Very few of them actually can answer the question how are you going to do that, both in execution, or how are you going to fund it because universities have, as everybody, multiple demands on their resources.
Money at the University of Toronto is basically student tuition and government grant primarily so we are accountable to those folks by stating upfront and inviting people to come look at our plan.
Our partnerships [00:39:30] with other universities, we're in the AAU, American Association Universities, with McGill from Canada. It's one of the premier university partnerships really on a global domain, we are raising our profile in that and raising the expectations for everybody to not only make a pledge but to be able to have a plan and one that will be detailed enough that you can then hold folks accountable.
We [00:40:00] need to get the funds to spend our 1.3 billion from our deans because that's where the money is. They absolutely require accountability and they have voted themselves to spend more now, to build more energy efficient buildings, we have the highest energy efficiency building standards in Canada, anywhere in North America for that matter, and to be able to deliver on that, they are, in essence, purchasing [00:40:30] future utility savings and we are using those future utility savings to fund the program.
We are embedding accountability into the plan year over year because if we're not achieving results, then the money will not be there to fund the next stage. Therefore, it is fundamentally an accountable plan so that we can't, and folks after me, wiggle out of it.
Catherine McKen...: I can't [00:41:00] emphasize more how important it is to be tracking everything that's done.
The climate change is just math. We're either increasing emissions or we're reducing emissions and right now, we're still going up. So 2030, I think we're estimated to be around 13 to 16% higher in terms of emissions instead of bending the curve. By the time we get to 2050, we're blown through probably three degrees at the rate we're going. So that means we all need to be held accountable.
[00:41:30] I saw the Canadian Securities commission administrators just said they're going out to comment on climate related disclosures requirement for companies. I think that's really important because we all need to be held accountable including Canadian businesses.
In terms of government, and when we pass the Net-Zero Accountability Act, where all future governments will be bound by our targets [00:42:00] and we'll have to demonstrate the pathway to achieve our 2030 target, but also to achieve net zero by 2050 because you can only track progress by actually measuring.
What I do worry about... So now I'm going to reference Greta. She's like, "Blah, blah, blah. Is this going to be a blah, blah, blah COP?" I worry about all these initiatives. Everyone's doing a new initiative. It's like initiative a minute. Voluntary this, voluntary [00:42:30] that, we're joining this joining, joining that. I was laughing with... I was with Patricia Espinosa, the head of the COP and we're like, "What does any of this add up to? Does this actually reduce emissions?"
I think we have to be very wary of initiatives that are voluntary. It's not that I'm against it, everyone should step up and do things, but I think that we need to be very, very, very clear on what we need to achieve and how we're benchmarking. And that goes for everyone.
[00:43:00] That's what we had to do with the climate plan. It's not fun thing. Let me tell you, when you're a minister of environment and climate change trying to track your progress to 2030. And by the way, people like, "You failed to meet your targets." It's a 2030 target. We haven't failed. But we have to show our path to get there and we've got a path to hit a 30% reduction but now we've increased it to 40 to 45% so we got to dig deeper.
But the only way you're going to do this is being very transparent about where [00:43:30] you're at, by showing how you're going to meet these targets, not just 2015, not just aspirational targets, literally reducing emissions every single day, every single month, every single year, all the way out and that is literally the only way it's going to work. That is the Paris Agreement requires every country to come back every five years with more ambition. But that's on all of us. We all need to do that.
And we can. The good news. So we've heard [00:44:00] that we don't have all the solutions, we have many of the solutions, and Canada has many attributes, 80% clean electricity, that's a massive thing. We can get close to 100%. We can electrify everything. We can use new technological solutions.
But that's not going to happen by chance and that's not going to happen by aspirational targets. That's going to happen by doing the hard work being, by being held accountable, by being transparent.
Ken Hartwick: And Fatima, if I could add to that, I [00:44:30] couldn't agree more with the number of groups we get asked to join and I always have the same question. What is the group going to do? It'll be a neat meeting in a neat country and it'll be wonderful. But I really do question whether or not we need more or whether or not having less will be more.
And again, if you go back specifically... And again, we have a view of if the Ontario electricity system needs to be double the size, and whether it's double or whether it's 50%, bigger, whatever it is, doesn't matter, it needs to be bigger.
And I think that's true of every province [00:45:00] across the country and every territory. You start to look and say, "Great. If it needs to be much bigger, then you need to move sooner on," in our case, "new nuclear. You need to move sooner on additional hydroelectric," which we've built a series of projects all with indigenous partnerships, all with great relationships around those. We need to move sooner with pairing up batteries and solar so it becomes more of a [00:45:30] baseload type of technology to some degree. And we need to move sooner when we see innovation coming out of U of T.
And I agree with Scott, where we're great at inventing things and then we're great at letting them go as a country someplace else to be developed. So we need to really help our institutions and entities invent and create ideas that help climate change. We need to operationalize those in Canada because then it gives us a voice on the world stage, for Catherine and her colleagues [00:46:00] to be able to go on the world stage, and say, "Here's what we're doing, here's how we can help."
I have never been in the world stage as you have. But I would think that's easier when you're able to say, "We are doing it," versus "We might get around to doing it, you should do it." And that's where we really need to get to and again, from the business community side, I think we need to challenge our businesses a lot more to support that innovation so our voice on the world stage is always heard, which it needs [00:46:30] to be.
Catherine McKen...: Fatima, I just want to jump in because I think this is an important point because often I hear from folks who want to see less climate action. They're like, "Well, it's not fair. Canada just a small percent of emissions. Doesn't matter what we do." Well, okay, so a couple myth busting here and I know I did it on The Backbench, you can all go listen.
The reality is Canada is one of the top 10 emitters in the world and per capita, we're amongst the very top. And by the way, if you look historically, when [00:47:00] you look at our carbon budget, we are one of the countries that significantly contributed. So yes, it is on us.
But also leadership is important, that actually showing there is a pathway is a way to bring other countries on board. This isn't a race to the bottom. It's a race to the top. But it is impossible to be credible.
When I started as minister of environment and climate change, days into the job, we were literally a pariah. When I came into the room, they're like, "Oh, [00:47:30] Canada," and I said, "Don't worry. We believe in the science. We're all in. We believe in the climate targets. We're going to have a plan." And then they were like, "Okay." I think people respected that. We worked really hard to land the Paris Agreement, but then people wanted to see the money, like would we actually have a serious climate plan?
And I think that is all about your credibility. You can't go internationally and pontificate and tell people they've got to do things if you aren't leading yourself, especially if you're country like Canada has contributed [00:48:00] significantly to climate change. That's just the reality we have.
We've also benefited. We all benefited from the use of fossil fuels. We live in nice homes, we're a developed country, we are able to drive in cars and have nice things. But we also have a responsibility and that is incredibly important.
And people are looking to Canada again. I think that's why actually saying things like, "Okay, the oil and gas sector has to be [00:48:30] part of our climate plan. They have to figure out how they're going to reduce emissions, not just emissions intensity, actually math, bring down emissions." I think that's really important to our credibility.
And it also creates momentum. We want it to be a positive space where countries come and say, "Yeah, we looked and if Canada can do it, we can do it. We're going to join on. They've done methane, they're doing different things, phasing out coal, what are the lessons they've learned and how can [00:49:00] we do it together?"
Fatima Syed: And I appreciate that. I've got under five minutes left so I do want to get to at least one audience questions. If you have more, please send them and I'll try and make this a rapid fire section if the panelists will comply.
This one's a really interesting question. "There seem to be seemingly dramatically different climate priorities at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels at some moments in time. Those disparities make [00:49:30] action more difficult to plan and execute," says this audience member. "Where and how should those be reconciled? And how are businesses dealing with that?"
Scott, I wonder if I could ask you to go for it because university deals with all levels of government.
Scott Mabury: We do and we seek partnerships. We seek to understand what those levels of government are trying to do, whether it's municipal, provincial, or federal so that we can plan appropriately.
The recent election [00:50:00] confirmed where the carbon tax is going to go and that's a very specific expectation around how we're going to fund our system. We seek partnerships in those government. We've had provincial funding for carbon reduction strategies that made a real difference.
In the city, it's just can we get the permits in time to be able to drill the holes to be able to really deliver on these energy efficiency projects. Part of it is having [00:50:30] smart enough people to be monitoring those governments and where they're at to be able to work as cooperatively as possible.
Fatima Syed: Ken, a question for you. What steps do we need to take to accelerate commercialization and adaptation of new ideas and innovations and strategies?
Ken Hartwick: To me, it's always two things. One is if you go very broadly from a policy level, so as we [00:51:00] get new technologies or other things that are going to help us, you often look and say, "What are the federal or provincial policies that might help that technology advance?"
And the second thing which is very specific to places like U of T and OPG and other companies is recognizing that if our real challenge is climate change, we have to do a lot of things, many of which will not work, and accept [00:51:30] that that's our responsibility as leaders whether it's a government leader, a university leader, a company leader that expect to fail which is not in most people's DNA. But I think it's actually if you say the biggest failure will be missing on climate change so our kids and grandkids don't have an amazing life to live, the ability to fail on some of these is important.
And it's something we push through our company. Try lots of things. Some things won't work, it shouldn't discourage you and let's ensure we [00:52:00] can get government support around it.
I very quickly just pick up on Scott's comment just on the earlier theme that I think this is one of the areas where we as a country we just have the moral standing to do a lot of this the right way. But as a group, all of us, we need to describe it.
And I actually view municipal, provincial, and federal governments, I deal with them all, the gaps there aren't nearly as big as what the newspapers say. Now, Catherine may disagree. But I find everyone is if the [00:52:30] goals are coalescing closer together, the debate is around how and that's where... Like I say, we debate with all three and we have our view, our view isn't right or wrong, it's just a view. But I find increasingly everyone's saying, "We have a problem. Now let's debate the solution."
Scott Mabury: Fatima, can I add? You said rapid fire. One concrete thing.
You invent something here, you need a laboratory. There is no space in Toronto available for anybody to build their company if they need laboratory. They go to the States, [00:53:00] they simply leave. So we have to deliver some more infrastructure so that inventions can grow and prosper in the Canadian environment.
Catherine McKen...: Can I add in? Because I may have a perspective on this.
Okay, so great. Everyone says they believe in climate change. That's great. That's hopefully like the basics. People say they want ambition. But there's too much lurching. I'm just going to call it as it is.
[00:53:30] We had a price on pollution. In Ontario, you had actually a cap and trade system. The government came in and dismantled it. Dismantled it. It was a system that was aligned with California. I can't imagine that's great for OPG because that's lurching and businesses need certainty. And so then we had to come in and geez, we had to go all the way to the Supreme Court.
I know that maybe people think I'm too much of a fighter but I'm just fighting for the planet. And I know businesses. They will do [00:54:00] what needs to be done. They say to governments, "Just give us certainty," and if on the biggest things we can't agree, it's not good enough to say climate change is real. It's not good enough to say we all get along.
And it gets to our discussion, Fatima, where you're like, "Politicians are fighting." You know what? I'm not even taking that because I'm fighting for the best policies, I'm fighting to actually get more emission not go backwards. And so yeah, I guess politicians are going to fight because you know what? If we don't move forward, we're actually wasting [00:54:30] time we do not have. We wasted a decade under Stephen Harper we did. That's just a reality. And so now we're trying to make up time. And I don't want to fight. I just want us to move forward. I think we need to see it in that spirit.
But you know what? The federal government has a responsibility to Canadians and they are the ones actually who have to go to COPs and actually show how are we meeting our targets. And by the way, when provinces go backwards, they like blaming us. The target is [00:55:00] a national target. It's not federal government target. It's the national target.
And so if Alberta doesn't do the hard work, Saskatchewan doesn't do the hard work, Ontario doesn't do the hard work, we all pay the price because our emissions go up.
I would love for it to be super easy. It's not. But the good news is I think Canadians know this and I actually think Canadians are like, "Get on with it." I think that they actually support it.
There's still a discussion [inaudible 00:55:26] I'm seeing it on Twitter. There's still discussion. Should we have a price on [00:55:30] pollution? Give Erin O'Toole some credit. He actually said there's going to be a price on pollution. But now people are actually going backwards.
We just have to move forward on climate. We have to do it in the spirit that we are working together. But sometimes, if folks want to take you back in time, you do not have a choice. You have to show leadership and you work with different partners.
University of Toronto, you work with municipalities, you work with folks that actually want to do things, but you need to put the play pieces in place like the federal government pollution doesn't know any borders, [00:56:00] we owe it to Canadians to keep on moving forward. So I'm not going to apologize that we go to the Supreme Court and we have to land policies because that's what you need to do. We need to move forward.
If I said something controversial, it's good because in Canada, I think sometimes, we're really nice and it's all about everything getting along, it's actually getting things done.
Ken Hartwick: Catherine, if I could-
Fatima Syed: Sorry, Ken. Sorry. I've got just two minutes left so I do want to give a forward looking question to wrap this conversation.
With COP26 just 20ish [00:56:30] days away, what do you guys hoping will come out of it? And how will you change your commitments or your plans based on that? And Ken, you we're talking first so you can feel free to comment on Catherine and then wrap up very quickly.
Ken Hartwick: No, no. I just said I'm more of an optimist. Like I say, I know what OPG, we deal with everybody. We're doing hydrogen projects, we're doing nuclear. So a lot of these things, that's why I say it's to me, politics is one thing, [00:57:00] real life is something else. I think just I'm way more optimistic that companies can bridge the gap and actually accomplish the things sooner than what others might think. Yeah, these are just problems to solve.
On COP, I think it'd be a great session. Do I think a lot comes out of it? Not really. But I think the important thing that does come out of it is a reaffirmation by those countries that want to be leaders and I think Canada will be one of them. [00:57:30] And that is important. People could say that's a signal, that's whatever. It's important that we continue to signal the things that are important for the world and our country as a whole.
Fatima Syed: Scott, final reflections on COP?
Scott Mabury: Well, my name is Scott and I'm optimistic and it's now been coined [Scoptimistic 00:57:51] about these kinds of things. I frankly place my hopes... At a COP, hopefully, some more agreement [00:58:00] and alignment comes out of that. But my hope is for our students, that large geo exchange project, largest in Canada is going to have a classroom underground and it's our students who I believe will deliver the solutions going forward, having them there looking at a successful technology, trying to improve it, make it better. We have 5000 students at U of T each and every year engaged in sustainability projects. That's where my optimism [00:58:30] lies.
Fatima Syed: And finally, Catherine?
Catherine McKen...: COPs are incredibly important because they're the mechanism to report basically on how we're doing on our targets. So we're going to have a reality check.
Now, what do I want? I would like us to have enough ambition to show that will say, well below two degrees striving for 1.5. We won't get there. What I want is everyone to actually see where we're at, listen to the kids, listen to the opportunities, [00:59:00] be positive, of course, but everyone has to dig a lot deeper. And we have to get out of this balance thing. We need to realize there's no balancing. We just have to actually figure out how we're going to move forward.
I think that we do need to see momentum under the Paris Agreement, we need a reality check. And it's just a moment in time. You're going to have the Paris Agree... Sorry, you have a COP and things are still going to have to go on like the next year, there's a biodiversity COP, climate and nature, totally related [00:59:30] and we're just going to have to continue grinding away.
But for one little while, people are all going to be focused, the whole world, on climate change and that is a good thing because we've been really focused on...
And I will end it on an optimistic note. We were very focused on COVID. And guess what? People thought we could never tackle COVID. They thought we never get a vaccine, and what did we do? We had folks waking up every single day, making decisions based on science as much as they could, businesses [01:00:00] working with governments to develop vaccine. Government spending heroic amounts of money to tackle the challenges to support people, and we did it.
Everyone, we just need to do that on climate. But we don't. What we don't do is wake up every single day and be very clear about where we want to be. I just hope that we're able to do that, that we're able to say, "Guess what? We can tackle climate change. It's even bigger problem than COVID. It's way bigger than COVID."
[01:00:30] But if we wake up every day, we listen to the science, we make decisions based on that, we invest the money that we need to do, we bring folks together, we will do it. We will do it.
The best thing that will happen is that we will be able to look our kids in the eye and that is why I got out of politics to focus only on climate change because there's so much work to be done but we can do it.
Fatima Syed: Thank you to all three of you for answering my questions and the audience's questions. I hope everyone [01:01:00] enjoyed that conversation and had some key takeaways from it. I'm going to hand over to Roselle to take us out.
Roselle Martino: Thanks very much, Fatima.
I think the fact that we ran out of time and there was still so much to say just is indicative of how well this discussion went and how complex and how important this topic is and requires continued conversation.
I wanted to wrap up with a number of different takeaways but we ran out of time. [01:01:30] I do want to say a number of... All the panelists commented on accountability so, Fatima, I just want to say thank you so much for that moderation because your questions and the way that you report and the type of journalists that you do, that is what holds all of us to account. So thank you for what you do and thank you for how you moderated the session.
I also want to thank Ken, Christine, and Catherine for this. A couple of things... Sorry, Ken, Scott, and [01:02:00] Catherine. A couple of things.
Catherine, you talked about ambition and financing particularly for developing countries. I think that is something that we hear a lot from all our business members, our business partners, especially because we have those that have domestic and international subsidiaries. So I think those points are really important.
Ken, you talk about innovation and technologies being the solutions going forward [01:02:30] or at least part of that, and I think that's absolutely true. We've heard the same thing. I would just comment that there's no shortage of innovation. So completely agree with you on that. I think the challenge which came out a bit in some of your commentary was about the transfer, the adoption, the commercialization, and what are those barriers. And certainly, that's something that the Board along with all of our partners and including University of Toronto will be tackling as we go forward.
And also just to say to [01:03:00] Scott and OPG, you need people to start somewhere. You started to take a position and start tackling this even in their own organizations and you both have done that. So thank you for that.
I just think I'm going to close on a couple of things. Catherine, you're absolutely right. Businesses need clarity and we agree with that and we need to bring that forward. This is not a must have. Sorry. This is not a nice to have, this is [01:03:30] a must have. So I think that's important context to just keep hanging on to and anchoring the work that we do going forward. So just once again, thank you all so much.
I do have to put in a quick plug for Thursday, December 2nd, the Board is hosting our annual transportation summit. It's a day long event taking place both in person and online. Transportation sector, as all of you know, is one of Canada's largest [01:04:00] emitters. So I'm sure there are people in this audience who want to bring part of that dialogue around reforms to build public transit infrastructure which was talked about a fair bit here today and government investments in the movement of goods and people. I just want to put that on your radar, Thursday, December 2nd. If you'd like to attend, please register at bot.com under Events.
And with that, thank you all so much for your time. Thank you to the audience for your participation [01:04:30] and have a great day.
Ken Hartwick: Thank you.
Catherine McKen...: Thanks.