Climate Solutions Group

Happy Canada 150! – 150 Climate Change Solutions

canada flag

29

Jun 2017

and

0

Canada is officially turning 150 years old. We can all be proud of what we have accomplished and achieved as a nation, while at the same time acknowledging the need for improvement when it comes to climate action. The way Canadians use energy and interact with the environment has evolved extremely over the last 150 years. Our lifestyles, food choices, transportation and construction methods, and relationship to nature will continue to evolve over the next 150. But we face the immensely challenging issue of climate change today. To make the next 150 years better than the last 150, Canadians can and should make a nation-wide effort to fight climate change.

The Climate Solutions Group believe Canadians have many opportunities to implement solutions in the fight against climate change – solutions that can make a difference and represent our identity and position on the world stage as leaders – compassionate and dedicated to the betterment of all. So, in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary, we have compiled a list of 150 climate change solutions that all Canadians should be aware of; initiatives and activities big and small, simple and complex that can help Canada and the world move towards a low carbon future.

The typically Canadian expression of saying “sorry” will not suffice for future generations if we don’t take concerted effort on climate change today. So take a look at the list below and get inspired by the wealth of opportunities for climate change action.

Happy Canada 150 from the Climate Solutions Group.


We have organized our list into the following categories

Electricity Generation
Buildings Economic and Policy
Enabling Technologies Household energy useWomen and Girls
Transitional TechnologiesTransportPersonal and Lifestyle
Food (supply and demand/household side)CitiesFuture Solutions
MaterialsEcosystem Protection and RestorationMoonshots and Crazy Ideas

Much of this list has been adapted from Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, which was published in April, 2017[1]. We highly recommend this comprehensive resource for those who wish to take a deeper dive into climate solutions.

Electricity Generation Solutions

 

  1. CONCENTRATED SOLAR – generating electricity through concentrating solar power on a small area
  2. ROOFTOP SOLAR – distributed solar photovoltaic systems that include both residential and community-scale systems generally below 1 megawatt.
  3. SOLAR FARMS – utility-scale solar photovoltaic systems.
  4. SOLAR WATER – solar hot water systems supplementing existing electric and gas heaters in houses.
  5. MICRO WIND – small scale wind turbines that generate 100 kilowatts of power capacity
  6. WIND TURBINES – utility-scale wind power technologies, both onshore and offshore

windfarm
Photo Courtesy of: Free-Photos

  1. IN-STREAM HYDRO – using small-scale hydropower technologies under 10 megawatts
  2. WAVE AND TIDAL – wave energy converters and tidal systems for electricity generation.
  3. METHANE DIGESTERS (LARGE) – producing biogas through anaerobic digestion of agricultural materials, manure, and wastewater biosolids
  4. METHANE DIGESTERS (SMALL) – producing biogas on a household level to replace or supplement fuelwood, charcoal, or even fossil fuel-based cookstoves
  5. GEOTHERMAL – using the consistent heat of the earth’s crust for energy storage and/or capture

geothermal energy
Photo Courtesy of: WikiImages

Enabling Technologies 

 

  1. ENERGY STORAGE (DISTRIBUTED) – decentralized systems generally based on battery storage on a household or community level. See Tesla Powerwall
  2. ENERGY STORAGE (UTILITIES) – large utility-scale storage units such as pumped hydroelectric, batteries, flywheels or compressed air energy storage
  3. GRID FLEXIBILITY – technologies that increase grid efficiency and integrate renewable energy
  4. MICROGRIDS – local electricity production that can connect and/or operate independently of a centralized grid
  5. HYDROGEN – a fuel burns with zero emissions but production requires large amounts of energy to create

Transitional Technologies

 

  1. BIOMASS – using agricultural feedstocks for electricity generation and combined heat and power generation.
  2. COGENERATION – optimizing natural gas powered facilities plants to extract heat in addition to electricity
  3. NUCLEAR – improvements to nuclear fission reactors

nuclear power
Photo Courtesy of: PublicDomainPictures

  1. WASTE-TO-ENERGY – burning waste to produce electricity and heat

Food

 

Supply-side solutions:

  1. COMMUNITY GARDENS – local agriculture in underutilized suburban and urban spaces
  2. URBAN HYDROPONIC AGRICULTURE – growing food in densely populated urban areas, reducing food transportation, water use, and food waste. See Just Vertical
  3. BIOCHAR – converting biomass to charcoal (and energy) which can be used as a soil amendment and a long-term carbon storage strategy

biochar
Photo Courtesy of: TheDigitalWay

  1. MULTISTRATA AGROFORESTRY – a cropping system where multiple layers of trees and other perennial crops grow together with higher sequestration rates than normal agriculture
  2. CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE – crop rotation, cover cropping, and reduced tillage leading to increased biosequestration of CO2
  3. REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE – agricultural practices that utilize green manure, compost application, organic production, cover crops, crop rotation, and/or reduced tillage
  4. FARMLAND IRRIGATION – energy-efficient irrigation practices can increase crop yields while reducing emissions
  5. FARMLAND RESTORATION –restoring degraded, abandoned land to increase productivity and biosequestration.
  6. IMPROVED RICE CULTIVATION – improving alternative strategies to reduce methane emissions from underwater plant decomposition

rice cultivation
Photo Courtesy of: Sasint

  1. SYSTEM OF RICE INTENSIFICATION – techniques used in smallholder rice production resulting in emissions reduction and improved yields.
  2. MANAGED GRAZING – adjusting the intensity and timing of grazing to improve grassland soil and increase carbon sequestration
  3. NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT – improving application efficiency of nitrogen fertilizers to reduce nitrous oxide emissions
  4. SILVOPASTURE – planting trees in pastures to increase productivity and carbon sequestration
  5. TREE INTERCROPPING – integrating trees in annual crop production that increases yields, ecosystem services, and biosequestration
  6. TROPICAL STAPLE TREES – replacing some annual cropping with trees or annual plants that produce staple crops (starch, protein, oils)

Demand-side and Household solutions:

  1. PLANT-RICH DIET – eating less meat creates less demand for animal agriculture which is more emissions intensive and requires land clearing
  2. CLEAN COOKSTOVES – increasing the availability efficient cookstoves to reduce deforestation rates
  3. COMPOSTING – converting biodegradable waste into soil amendment
  4. REDUCED FOOD WASTE – redistributing food before it is wasted and improved supply chain management

food waste
Photo Courtesy of Ben Kerckx

  1. ONLY BUY GROCERIES YOU NEED – this can reduce food spoilage and food waste
  2. LEARN HOW TO STORE FOOD PROPERLY – storing food for longer without it spoiling helps reduce food waste

Materials

 

  1. ALTERNATIVE CEMENT – the use of an increased percentage of fly ash instead of Portland cement in concrete
  2. BIOPLASTIC – replacing petroleum-based plastics with biomass feedstock-based plastic materials
  3. HOUSEHOLD RECYCLING – saving energy associated with the extraction, processing and manufacturing of raw/virgin materials
  4. INDUSTRIAL RECYCLING – large amounts of consistent and uncontaminated materials can find markets when the right business connections are made
  5. RECYCLED PAPER – recycling paper to replace virgin paper feedstocks


Photo Courtesy of: Ben Kerckx

  1. REFRIGERANT MANAGEMENT – refrigerant gasses have extremely high global warming potential. Recovery, recycling, and destruction of refrigerants at the end of life
  2. WATER SAVING (HOME) – using use of low-flow fixtures and pressure regulators in the household. Saving water, in particular hot water, in the household reduces emissions related to heating water

Buildings

 

  1. BUILDING AUTOMATION – turning appliances and other energy uses on and off according to need and use
  2. SMART THERMOSTATS – using internet-connected smart thermostats to reduce the heating and cooling demand of homes
  3. GREEN ROOFS – reduce heat loads and reflect solar radiation


Photo Courtesy of: Alexas_Fotos

  1. COOL ROOFS – cool roofs reflect solar radiation and reduce air temperature, which leads to reduction in cooling loads
  2. HEAT PUMPS – reducing heating and cooling needs with more efficient systems
  3. INSULATION – insulating building envelopes reduces space heating and cooling loads
  4. SMART GLASS – installing new windows that control solar radiation and reducing heating and cooling needs
  5. LED LIGHTING (COMMERCIAL) – replacing conventional lighting solutions with LEDs
  6. LED LIGHTING (HOUSEHOLD) – replacing conventional lighting solutions with LEDs
  7. NET ZERO BUILDINGS – buildings that create at least as much energy as they use
  8. RETROFITTING – modifying existing buildings to improve energy efficiency
  9. BUILDING (RE)COMISSIONING – verifying and adjusting building subsystems (plumbing, HVAC, electrical etc) for efficiency improvements
  10. SOLAR HOT WATER – using solar radiation to pre-heat or heat water for residential and commercial use

Household energy use

 

  1. CONDUCT A HOME ENERGY AUDIT – cost effective online-based energy audits are now available. See EnergyX
  2. TURN OFF THE LIGHTS – always turn off the lights when you leave a room, better yet, get sensor operated light switches
  3. UNPLUG – use a power bar to completely turn off appliance and decrease phantom energy use which account for 5-10% of residential energy use
  4. ADJUST THERMOSTATS – don’t need a smart thermostat to save energy. Lower your settings in the winter and let your home get a little warmer in the summer
  5. LOOK FOR ENERGY STAR PRODUCTS – Make sure to check for energy efficiency ratings of new appliances
  6. CHECK THE SEAL ON YOUR FRIDGE AND FREEZER – escaping cold air is a big energy waster
  7. BLINDS – closing blinds in the summer time and opening in the winter is an effective way to keep heat out, or let it in
  8. VENTING – close heat/AC vents in rooms that aren’t used as much
  9. WEATHERSTRIPPING – sealing doors and windows more effectively can be a cost effective way of increasing your home’s energy efficiency
  10. PEAK TIMING – running appliances at night will take pressure off the electricity grid that is powered by fossil fuels during peak times

Transport

 

  1. AIRPLANES – increased use of technologies and aircraft design to reduce aircraft fuel burn

future airliner
Photo Courtesy of: NASA

  1. FLYING ECONOMY CLASS – if you must fly, sitting in economy class takes up less space and spreads out emissions among more people
  2. HYBRID CARS – increased use of hybrid cars improves fuel efficiency
  3. ELECTRIC VEHICLES – increased use of battery and plug-in hybrid vehicles
  4. RIDESHARING – increasing ride-sharing when commuting in North America to reduce congestion and vehicle ownership
  5. ELECTRIC BIKES – increasing the use of electric bikes instead of cars for urban travel
  6. BIKESHARE – another option for short commutes in a city
  7. CHECK TIRE PRESSURE – having the right tire pressure can improve fuel efficiency
  8. HIGH-SPEED RAIL – building new tracks for increased use of high speed rail between major population centres

bullet train
Photo Courtesy of: Free-pix-bkk

  1. TRAINS – increased electrification of freight and commuter railways
  2. MASS TRANSIT – increased usage of mass transit or public transport to get around cities
  3. SHIPS – the use of technologies to make maritime shipping less fuel-intensive
  4. TELEPRESENCE – replacing flying for business meetings with telepresence technologies like skype or facetime
  5. TRUCKS – increased use of fuel reduction technologies and approaches for trucking

Cities

 

  1. BIKE INFRASTRUCTURE – improving infrastructure for safer and increased bicycle commuting
  2. EV CHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE – more electric vehicle charges can help incentive EVs over internal combustion vehicles

tesla charger
Photo Courtesy of: Blomst

  1. WALKABLE CITIES – designing and retrofitting urban environments to encourage walking for commute or transportation, thereby reducing transportation via internal combustion engine powered vehicles and their associated emissions.
  2. DISTRICT HEATING – using centralized heating systems and distribution network of buried pipes to provide efficient heating
  3. LANDFILL METHANE – capturing methane created in landfills from anaerobic decomposition of organic waste
  4. WATER DISTRIBUTION EFFICIENCY – reducing water leakage or oversupply of regional water, which improves pumping efficiency
  5. URBAN FORESTRY – increasing the forest cover in cities by planting trees

Ecosystem protection and restoration solutions

 

  1. COASTAL WETLAND – protecting carbon sinks such as mangroves, seagrasses, and saltmarshes
  2. FOREST PROTECTION – protecting forest carbon sinks and reducing deforestation
  3. INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S LAND MANAGEMENT – recognizing the legal claims indigenous peoples’ land, leading to the protection of carbon sinks
  4. PEATLANDS – restoring peatlands to maintain carbon sinks for future carbon sequestration
  5. TEMPERATE FORESTS – restoring and protecting temperate-climate forests. See Forest Canada
  6. TROPICAL FORESTS – restoring and protecting tropical-climate forests
  7. AFFORESTATION – planting trees for human use on degraded land

afforestation
Photo Courtesy of: timmossholder

  1. BAMBOO – the planting of bamboo for timber and other biomass uses on degraded land
  2. PERENNIAL BIOMASS/GRASSLAND – the production of perennial grasses and coppiced woody plants

Economics and Policy

 

  1. PUTTING A PRICE ON CARBON – creates incentives for businesses and consumers to reduce their carbon footprint
  2. ENDING SUBSIDIES FOR FOSSIL FUELS – ending extraction incentives and grants for new exploration
  3. INTERNATIONAL EMISSIONS TRADING – facilitates cross border financing for low-carbon projects
  4. PURCHASE ENERGY FROM GREEN ENERGY PROVIDERS – increases demand from certified green sources. See BullfrogPower
  5. LOW CARBON FUEL STANDARDS – governments could implement higher standards for high percentages of biofuels in gasoline
  6. HIGH EMISSION CAR LEVIES – taxing cars with poor fuel efficiency would incentivize fewer large vehicle purchases and hasten the retirement of older vehicles

Women and Girls

 

  1. EDUCATING GIRLS – women with more education have fewer, healthier children and can lead to upward mobility and improved standards of living

female education
Photo Courtesy of: akshayapatra

  1. FAMILY PLANNING – lower rates of population growth puts less strain on the planet’s resources
  2. WOMEN SMALLHOLDERS – increasing equality of finance and resources to women smallholders can increase yields, thereby avoiding deforestation substantially

Personal and Lifestyle

 

  1. CHOOSE A SMALLER HOME – Decreases energy consumption and can reduce the number of products you purchase because of less space

small home
Photo Courtesy of: Max Pixel

  1. SHORTER SHOWERS – saving energy used for water heaters
  2. USE A DISHWASHER INSTEAD OF HANDWASHING – dishwashers are more efficient that handwashing in terms of heating and water use
  3. BECOME INVOLVED – joining a non-profit or community organization is a great way to learn about environmental issues and many organizations need volunteers to help with projects
  4. VACATION LOCALLY – People from all over the world visit Canada’s beautiful sights. You don’t need to go far
  5. TRY GOING WASTELESS – using reusable containers for everything and making your own products and food is not for everyone but can help reduce your environmental footprint
  6. REUSEABLE WATER BOTTLES – resulting in less petroleum derived plastic and waste
  7. BUY SECOND HAND – it’s not just for hipsters. Reuse is the most effective way of increasing resource productivity of manufactured goods
  8. RECYCLE CLOTHING – donated clothing can be reused again or recycled. H&M has a garment recycling program

Future Solutions

 

  1. REPOPULATING THE MAMMOTH STEP – migrating herds of reindeer in Siberia clear snow thereby exposing permafrost to cooler temperatures over the winter, and preventing melt
  2. PASTURE CROPPING – using a single field for grazing and planting grains and perennials, building soil fertility and increasing carbon sequestration
  3. ENHANCED WEATHERING OF MINERALS – using silicate rock to absorb minute concentrations of carbon dioxide in water that creates inorganic calcium carbonates. See Dustbiosolutions.
  4. MARINE PERMACULTURE – planting thousands of acres of fast growing kelp forests to sequester ocean carbon and attract abundant wildlife
  5. LIVESTOCK FEED SUPPLEMENT – red algae based food supplements decrease cattle methane production
  6. OCEAN FARMING – sustainable fish, shellfish, and seaweed farming where complementary species are grown for food and fuel

oyster farm
Photo Courtesy of: Seahorse Digital

  1. INTENSIVE SILVOPASTURE – adding more cattle, different types of plants trees and managing herd rotations
  2. ARTIFICIAL LEAF – replicating natural photosynthesis to create fuels out of just sunshine, water and bacteria
  3. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES – reducing the need for vehicle ownership and improved efficiency of vehicles
  4. SOLID STATE WAVE ENERGY – harnessing the immense kinetic energy of oceans without moving parts
  5. LIVING BUILDINGS – buildings that can reanimate and renew the environment, for both the natural world and human communities

Photo Courtesy of: Lauren Manning

  1. DIRECT AIR CAPTURE – also known as carbon capture and storage, facilities that “mine the sky” for CO2 using chemical sorbents to concentrate CO2 and store it long term
  2. HYDROGEN BORON FUSION – smashing atoms together at 3 billion degrees Celcius to create the energy that powers stars
  3. HYPERLOOP – energy efficient way of travelling 1,200 km/h through 1,100 km of partial vacuum tubes running up and down California
  4. MICROBIAL FARMING – adding specialized combinations of microorganisms to degraded and diminished soils that decreases the need for synthetic fertilizers
  5. INDUSTRIAL HEMP – using hemp for strong sustainable fibre, is more climate friendly and requires less inputs than cotton
  6. PERENNIAL CROPS – grow back each year and provide food while leaving the soil intact, sequestering carbon
  7. ALGAE BIOFUELS – new algae strains with more fat content could drastically increase yields compared to corn or other feedstocks
  8. SUPERCAPACITORS – storing energy by means of a static charge, charging almost instantly

Moonshots and Crazy ideas

 

  1. SMART HIGHWAYS – converting asphalt into lanes that charge vehicles as they drive and photovoltaic pavement to produce energy
  2. REFREEZE THE ARCTIC AND ANTARCTICA – using wind-powered pumps to pump water to the surface and create thicker sea ice
  3. AEROSOL GEOENGINEERING – deflecting sunlight away from the earth with aerosols
  4. SUNSHADE – using a giant parasol that diverts or reduces the sun’s radiation
  5. PLANTING FORESTS WITH DRONES – land scanning and mapping ideal planting spots to plant up to 100,000 trees per day from seed
  6. OCEAN MIXING – use giant pipes to bring up nutrient-rich deep ocean waters that would stimulate algae growth
  7. OCEAN IRON FERTILIZATION – dusting the ocean with iron to increase the growth of phytoplankton
  8. INSECT DIETS – eating crickets and mealworms as a protein source could cut farmland use by a third


Photo Courtesy of Takeaway

  1. CLOUD SEEDING – wind powered yachts that spray seawater into the sky to produce more clouds that reflect solar radiation back into space
  1. CULTURED MEAT – growing meat in a lab which requires significantly less inputs than traditionally grown meat
  2. INSULATING GLACIERS – covering glaciers with reflective plastic blankets that reduce melting rates
  3. ATMOSPHERIC VORTEX ENGINE – using a controlled tornado-like vortex to capture energy. See AVEtec Energy

The Climate Solutions Group is here to help. Feel free to reach out to us at info@theclimatesolutionsgroup.com.

Again, Happy Canada 150!

References
[1] Hawken, P. (. (2017). Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Roll Back Global Warming. Penguin Group USA.

Leave a comment