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Mobilizing society to act on climate change

by The Concordian October 13, 2015

Dr. Catherine Potvin to discuss solutions for reducing Canada’s carbon economy

With the December 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference quickly on its way, a group of Canadian scholars with diverse backgrounds from across the country have been coming together to find solutions for reducing the carbon economy in Canada.

On Oct. 15 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., Concordia’s Science College will host the “Acting on Climate Change: Mobilizing Society to Find Solutions” conference at the Oscar Peterson Concert Hall at Loyola campus to discuss their findings.

Dr. Catherine Potvin, a McGill biology professor specializing in tropical forest ecology and conservation, will be giving the lecture. In 2012, Potvin received the Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada’s Miroslaw Romanowski Medal for her contribution in improving the quality of an ecosystem through scientific research, and is Canada’s Research Chair on Climate Change Mitigation and Tropical Forests. Potvin is also chair holder of the Sustainable Canada Dialogues (SCD), a group of 60 researchers from across Canada who hope that their input can help Canadian governments make commitments to emission reduction.

Potvin will be presenting the SCD’s 10 key policies at the conference on Thursday. The SCD recommendations are aimed towards informing Canadians and the Canadian government on effective solutions to reduce greenhouse gasses and carbon emissions in our environment.

According to the SCD’s platform, they plan on “integrating sustainability and climate change into landscape planning at the regional and city levels to ensure that … new and maintenance infrastructure investments are consistent with the long-term goal of decarbonizing [the country].” The SCD proposes eliminating subsidies on fossil-fuel industries and integrating the oil and gas production sector in climate policies.

“In 2015 there are two extremely important events for the world climate changes; one is the federal election in October, where Canadians will be able to choose what will happen in the country over the next five years,” Potvin said in an interview with Radio Canada earlier this year. “Two months later, in December 2015, in Paris, countries across the world will be summoned in a huge reunion to negotiate on climate changes. Canada will have to make an international engagement on its position of climate change.”

“The transition to a low carbon society can be used as a way to propel the Canadian economy into the future, to make it more competitive and more sustainable,” Potvin told the McGill Reporter.

Potvin also said another crucial policy to help Canada transition into a carbon-low economy is  “[ensuring] electric connections between the provinces that produce hydro-electricity and those that do not. Such interconnection would allow Canada to have 100 per cent carbon-free electricity and could become the backbone of our transition to a low-carbon sustainable society.”

The Oct. 15 conference is free and open to the public at the Oscar Peterson Concert Hall from 8-10 p.m.

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