The Climate Imperative

According to the latest Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2014), the last three decades have experienced a clear increase in the Earth’s surface temperature, and it is likely that 1983 to 2012 was the warmest 30-year period in the Northern Hemisphere within the last 1,400 years.

In direct response to this evidence, a collaboration of over 60 scientists from every province and across disciplines came together in the Sustainable Canada Dialogues, led by Dr. Catherine Potvin from McGill University. The scholars within this collaboration brought their knowledge and research to collectively identify a sustainable climate pathway for Canada. The consensus action agenda, Acting on Climate Change: Solutions from Canadian Scholars, launched in March 2015, identifies ten policy orientations and actions that could be immediately adopted to kick-start Canada’s necessary transition toward a low carbon economy.

The Climate Imperative e-Dialogues series will bring together Sustainable Canada scholars to delve deeper into the solutions for moving toward a low carbon economy. We will tackle four critical questions:

  1. The Art of the Possible: What are the ten steps Canada can take now to achieve a low carbon economy? (completed)
  2. The Provincial Context: What are the provincial challenges in adopting the ten action steps? (completed)
  3. Canadian Voices: What did we learn from Canadians? (completed)
  4. Canadians Vote: Which climate scenario is the most desirable for our country’s future? (completed)

Virtual conversations around these questions were led over six months to inform the upcoming federal election. Following the fourth e-Dialogue, we ask Canadians to vote on their preferred climate scenario in an online survey.

This conversation series complements the research conducted through the Meeting the Climate Change Challenge (MC3) project. Click here to access the interactive map of MC3 case studies and learn more on actions and innovations implemented by communities to address climate change.

Resources and References

Carbon Management Canada and Navius Research (2014). Pathways to decarbonisation- the Canada Chapter. Sachs, J., Tubiana, L. (Eds.) Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI),Retrieved from:

Dale, A. 2015. Prioritizing Policy. Protecting nature by ensuring that the law is for the land. Alternatives Magazine, 41:1, 77-79

Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Partners for Climate Protection.

Global Commission on the Economy and Climate (2014). Better Growth, Better Climate: The New Climate Economy Report. Retrieved from:

IPCC. 2014: Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Core Writing Team, R.K. Pachauri and L.A. Meyer (eds.)]. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland.

IPCC, 2014: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Field, C.B., V.R. Barros, D.J. Dokken, K.J. Mach, M.D. Mastrandrea, T.E. Bilir, M. Chatterjee, K.L. Ebi, Y.O. Estrada, R.C. Genova, B. Girma, E.S. Kissel, A.N. Levy, S. MacCracken, P.R. Mastrandrea, and L.L. White (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, pp. 1-32.

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. 2010. A human health perspective on climate change: a report outlining the research needs on the human health effects of climate change. In A Human Health Perspective On Climate Change: A Report Outlining the Research Needs on the Human Health Effects of Climate Change. Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP); National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC).

Pembina Institute. Publications.

Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. 2003. Interlinkages between biological diversity and climate change. In Advice on the integration of biodiversity considerations into the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol. CBD Technical Series (No. 10).

Stern, N. 2006. The economics of climate change. Report by Sir Nicholas Stern to the UK government on the predicted economic costs of climate change.

Trottier Family Foundation, Canadian Academy of Engineering and David Suzuki Foundation (2013). Trottier Energy Futures Project. Website:

World Bank Group (2014) Turn Down the Heat: Confronting the New Climate Normal. Washington, DC: World Bank.