Linking Climate Action and Research

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Jean-Marc Mangin, Executive Director, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Last week at a conference in Montreal, a group of more than 60 scholars from across disciplines and regions of the country released a major report: Acting on Climate Change: Solutions from Canadian Scholars. The report from this eminent group of researchers illuminates a pathway to a low carbon Canada that emerged from extensive and  rigorous discussions. These scholars have identified 10 key policy orientations that would help Canada meet the defining challenge of our times, including a unanimous recommendation for putting a price on carbon. The release of the report attracted a great deal of media attention, including this piece in Science.

I was privileged to attend the conference, and was impressed by the ability of the group to jointly formulate such a pragmatic and action-oriented plan based on a collective body of research.  The group is under no illusion regarding the challenges of translating their recommendations into action.  Members of the group will participate in public events in and outside universities to disseminate the report's recommendations. A key member of the Scientific Committee and driving force for the group, Dr. Catherine Potvin from McGill, is currently on a pan-Canadian tour and will have an opportunity to brief Canadian Premiers who are attending the Summit on Climate Change in Quebec City in mid-April.

Dr. Potvin will also participate in the Interdisciplinary Symposium ‘Climate Change Policies for a Low Carbon Economy’  at Congress 2015 at the University of Ottawa  on June 4th. In the lead-up to the 2015 Federal elections, the group will release a White Paper for any future government to consider prior to the critically important negotiations for a new international climate treaty in Paris this coming November.

Actively linking the latest research with the development of public policy, this group of outstanding scholars has made an important contribution. If the group’s advice is heeded, it would go a long way to help move Canada’s national climate performance from laggard to world leader. The knowledge and capacity for action already exists—amongst our universities, cities and several provinces.  Now it is time to demonstrate policy leadership at the federal level. 

Image: Acting on Climate Change report


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