The Importance of Clean Technology
Climate change has been around for centuries, but recently its development has been exponentially sped up by the impact of human activity. The root cause of this impact arises from the amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs) that we use in many of our daily activities. Many GHGs are created when we burn fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas, but there are many other sources such as methane from the excretions of cows. These GHGs all carry different levels of potency, but carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most prevalent and addressable due to human activity. What we see as a result is rising temperatures in many areas of the world and the destruction to many ecosystems as their natural environments become imbalanced. Agriculture is also another practice that contributes to rising concern of global warming.
Deforestation occurs to create land for farms, but this reduces the amount of trees to convert CO¬2¬ back into oxygen. Additionally many fertilizing chemicals are used in farming procedures including nitrous oxide which is close to methane in its potency (NASA, 2016). Our current levels of emissions lead to global temperature rise, warming oceans, shrinking ice sheets, natural disasters such as droughts, heavy rains, severe storms and also ocean acidification due to the immense amount of human induced CO2 production. If we want to address this alarming rate of destruction, we have to fundamentally alter the way we live our daily lives and how we operate our businesses.
The good news is that countries and cities from around the world are recognizing climate change as a reality and are actively looking to address it aggressively. The Paris Agreement was birthed in December of 2015 and is marked to be enacted in 2020. It is the world’s first legally binding global agreement and is aimed at limiting temperature increase to 2oC. The goal is to get this number down to 1.5oC as that would dramatically reduce the long term risks of climate change. This is a daunting task but the council composed of 195 nations has agreed to reconvene on a 5 year basis to “set more ambitious targets” (European Commission, 2016).
Canada has followed in these footsteps and created numerous declarations and initiatives to complement the Paris Agreement. The Vancouver Declaration on Clean Growth and Climate changes aims to mitigate and reduce the levels of GHG emissions to 30% below that of the 2005 level (City of Vancouver, 2015).
In the coming years more cities will take on similar initiatives as the road is paved by the leaders. In these movements it is crucial for businesses to adapt and support the need for changing industries. This is where the clean technology industry comes into play. This industry produces products, processes and services aimed at reducing the amount of waste and require no or few non-renewable resources. Surprisingly, it is Canada’s first new industry in the 21st century. It spans 10 diverse sectors including everything from agriculture to power generation.
From the average person’s standpoint it seems that the cleantech industry only covers solar power, wind turbines, waste management and the like. However, it also permeates into the consumer market with clean energy vehicles, household generators and energy management systems, to name a few.
The 10 Sectors of Canada’s Clean Technology Industry
As of 2015, 50,000 Canadians were employed within the clean technology industry across roughly 800 various firms. BC is leading the way in terms of “go green” initiatives including the creation of the first North American carbon tax. Greater Vancouver is at the forefront, providing tools and events to help clean technology businesses grow and succeed (Analytica Advisors, 2015).
However, meeting the Vancouver Declaration will require support from all fronts, not just the government. It will require businesses that are willing to innovate and play their part in promoting clean technology. It will require financial institutions and investors who are willing to support these businesses. It will also require consumers who are conscious about the purchasing decisions they make and how it affects the environment around them.
The Greater Vancouver Clean Technology Expo & Championship brings these three groups together to promote and celebrate the clean technology industry. It aims to:
- Grow awareness of the clean technology industry within in our own backyard
- Connect investors to clean technology businesses, allowing them a chance to receive funding
- Provide educational experiences to clean technology businesses who are looking to improve and take their business to the next level
- Encourage innovation by recognizing the top clean technology company as the #CLEANTECHCHAMP of 2016
Come by the City of Surrey City Hall – one of BC’s clean energy hubs – on Wednesday September 28th, 2016 to take part of this Expo & Championship. The event will be open from 10AM – 4PM and registration is free for general attendees. With registration, you’ll receive an Expo package upon signing in at the event, as well as access to see the latest clean technologies that Greater Vancouver has to offer.