The technology and innovation component of the federal government’s climate change plan is welcome, but it doesn’t go far enough and crucial details are still lacking. From what we’ve been told, however, the initiatives appear to be heavily skewed towards traditional energy industries at the expense of those that offer a truly sustainable future.
It’s all very well to provide $65 million to help make fossil fuels cleaner, but spreading $30 million over renewable sources such as wind, solar and landfill waste is verging on chicken feed. The researchers and companies working towards making renewable energy sources commercially viable shouldn’t be forced to scratch for money in such a meagre funding pool.
The largest funding pot is devoted to hydrogen-related projects But the bulk of that money is for demonstration, not for conducting R&D into how to make the source fuel for fuel cells cheaper and less energy intensive.
Then there’s the issue of timing. Six months after the Budget announcement of $2 billion over five years in support of climate change, there’s no information on the kinds of projects being designed, especially in the area of technology and innovation. It’s now been nearly a year since the Climate Change Plan for Canada was unveiled. At the pace the government is moving, hitting the targets established under the Kyoto Protocol are a pipe dream.
If technology and innovation are to assist in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below 1990 levels by 2008-2012, time is of the essence.