The Transition Accelerator offers a new approach for building more durable, long-term, systems-level changes that reduce GHG emissions in Canada. We begin by turning climate policy on its head and focusing on solving existing and emerging social and business challenges, and then we build emission reductions and environmental improvements into the solutions.
The reality is that many of our large emitting industries (e.g., automotive, freight, coal-burning, etc.) and societal systems (e.g., cost of housing, road congestion, sprawl, etc.) are already facing widespread disruption and pressures to adapt. Many of these changes are driven by a combination of technology and shifting demographics and consumer trends. While stable industries and social systems are hard to transform, when systems and industries are undergoing rapid change, there is an opportunity to harness these changes to realize positive social and economic outcomes including GHG emissions reductions.
Developing solutions for systems
Whereas most climate attention focuses on a problem sector (e.g. oil sands) or a technological solution (e.g. electric vehicles), meaningful long-term transition requires an understanding of the disruptive forces behind the interrelationships within systems. Oil production, transportation policy, vehicle manufacturing, electrification, and mobility function as a system; solutions need to solve for disruptions within the system. Climate change benefits are built into the larger solution; not the driving force for change.
Combining research, theory, and practice within a rigorous framework
Many approaches to climate change mitigation fail due to a lack of understanding of the complexity of the problem at hand. Social, cultural, political and economic factors hamper change. The Transition Accelerator methodology introduces an in-depth understanding of transition theory with rigorous research to build-out transition pathways, anticipate barriers to change, incorporate feedback, and maximize successful transitions.
Working with critical innovators
Technology adoption requires the participation of the technology innovators across the system in conjunction with the relevant technology users, manufacturers, owners, and policy makers. The Transition Accelerator methodology is unique in this integrated approach to technology adoption and economic transition; by building consortia of players to implement long-term system-wide transitions.
Focus on a finite number of underlying systems
Rather than focusing on technology development The Transition Accelerator focuses on a small number of underlying systems to accelerate the adoption of many climate-related technological advances. Hydrogen, for example, can be used in hydrogen fuel cells to power buses, and solve long-haul freight challenges with trucks, trains, and ships. Virtually all greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction models contemplate significant electrification of existing fossil-fuel combustion. Advancing a hydrogen economy, and widespread electrification, are two critical systems where Canada has a competitive advantage, where sufficient technology exists but where a significant, timely advancements will not be made without dedicated effort. Existing technology road-mapping efforts, and development of national and regional strategies and policy constructs are necessary, but not sufficient, if Canada is to thrive environmentally and economically in a net-zero emissions world where global competition is fierce. Moreover, the hydrogen-electrification connection creates a powerful driver for a low carbon economy. The Transition Accelerator is Canada’s lead organization in developing practical, actionable transition pathways for hydrogen and electrification that wring full societal value from past and current technology development investments, capitalize on the Government of Canada’s policy framework, and sets the stage for business model and technology innovation.