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Planet in Focus festival features films, panel discussions about environment

The following was originally published in YFile on November 3rd, 2014.

The 15th annual Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival, designed to enlighten, engage and entertain with film about the world, will screen the documentary film Honour Your Wordat York University Friday.

A still from the film Honour Your World

Honour Your Word is written, directed and produced by Professor Martha Stiegman of York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES), which is one of the co-sponsors of the film festival. FES Dean Noël Sturgeon will introduce the film, which will screen Friday, Nov. 7, from 3 to 4:30pm, in the Nat Taylor Cinema, 102 North Ross Building, Keele campus.

Honour Your Word is an intimate portrait of life behind the barricades for the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, an inspiring First Nation whose dignity and courage contrast sharply with the political injustice they face. The title refers to their campaign slogan demanding Canada and Québec honour a precedent-setting conservation deal signed in 1991.

A still from the film Honour Your World

A panel discussion will follow the screening with the filmmaker along with Barriere Lake Community spokesperson Marylynn Poucachiche and Shiri Pasternak of Barriere Lake Solidarity. Stiegman spent four years shooting the film called poetic and heartfelt, and one that challenges stereotypes of “angry indians.” Honour Your Word juxtaposes starkly contrasting landscapes – the majesty of the bush, a dramatic highway standoff against a riot squad, daily life within the confines of the reserve – to reveal the spirit of a people for whom blockading has become an unfortunate part of their way of life, a life rooted in the piece of the Boreal Forest they are defending.

The film draws its audience into the lives of two young leaders: Marylynn Poucachiche, a mother of five, and Norman Matchewan, the soft-spoken son and grandson of traditional chiefs. Both spent their childhoods on the logging blockades their parents set up to win a sustainable development plan protecting their land. But it turns out signing the agreement was the easy part.

Now, 20 years later, Norman and Marylynn are taking up the struggle of their youth to force Canada and Québec to honour their word. Their fight may seem an impossible one, but as we spend time with Marylynn, Norman and the community they are so deeply a part of, the audience grows to identify with the impulse driving a struggle that spans generations. For these people, standing up is a necessity, not a choice – and they are compelled to do so, despite the odds.

A still shot from OFFSHORE

York cinema and media studies Professor Brenda Longfellow of the Faculty of Fine Arts will present her interactive, oil-drilling documentary OFFSHORE as the Industry Day “Case Study”Friday, Nov. 7, at 1:30pm at Toronto City Hall. OFFSHORE, co-directed with Glen Richards and Helios Design Lab, is an interactive web documentary about the next chapter of oil exploration. “Extreme Oil” or “Cowboy Drilling” takes place hundreds of miles offshore, thousands of feet beneath the ocean floor, in dangerous and risky conditions where the hazards are immense but the profits are bigger, and where the consequences of something going wrong are catastrophic.

OFFSHORE uses a virtual offshore oil rig as the central interface, combining an innovative mixture of virtual immersion and documentary elements. Beginning with stories from the Deepwater Horizon disaster and journeying to the Arctic, Brazil and Russia, the film probes the consequences and prospects of this new energy frontier.

From the film Trick or Treaty

Trick or Treaty, directed by Alanis Obomsawin, a member of the Abenaki First Nation and a documentary filmmaker, will screen Friday, Nov. 7, at 8pm at Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario. FES Associate Dean Ravi de Costa will introduce the film, which explores “Treaty 9” of 1905, a monumental document in the history of Canada’s First Nations tribes. Obomsawin will be in attendance. She will also be part of a Master Class earlier in the day with journalist/author Geoff Pevere, from 2:45 to 3:45pm, at Toronto City Hall.

Planet in Focus – Industry Day is organized by York grad student and alumnus Mark Terry(BA ’90). The day is devoted to providing creative and business content for filmmakers and opportunities to network with distinguished industry professionals. It will include a Green Screen Initiative Panel, from 11:30am to 12:30pm, discussing advances in environmentally sustainable production practices in film and television production. More information aboutIndustry Day can be found on the Planet in Focus website.

Osgoode Hall Law School PhD Candidate Michael John Long (BA ’04, MES ’08, LLM ’11), an alumnus of York’s Master in Environmental Studies program, is the academic programmer at Planet in Focus and an executive board member at York’s Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability, which is hosting the festival at York this year.

In addition, FES alumna Tzeporah Berman (MES ’95) will receive the Eco-Heroes Award at this year’s festival.

The Planet in Focus film festival was started by FES alumnus Mark Haslam.

To find out what other films and panel discussions are taking place in the Nat Taylor Cinema, check the Planet in Focus schedule. For more information on the festival, visit the Planet in Focus website.


Leading ecologists to speak at York University Oct. 2

The following was originally published in YFile on September 25, 2014.

Harvard University Professor Aaron Ellison and Elizabeth Farnsworth, a senior research ecologist with the New England Wild Flower Society, widely regarded as the power couple of ecology, will be speaking at York University on Oct. 2.Aaron Ellison

Ellison will lecture about his experiences working and teaching in the Harvard Forest at Harvard University. The Harvard Forest is the University’s 1,500-hectare outdoor classroom and a living laboratory for ecological research. At 10:30am, he will deliver a talk titled, “Identifying, anticipating and intervening in ecological regime shifts”. The talk will take place in 306 Lumbers Building on the Keele Campus and is part of the Biology Department Research Talks. It is free and open to members of the York community.

Then at 2pm in 009 Accolade West, Ellison will deliver another lecture titled, “Short and long-term impacts of undergraduate research experiences at the Harvard Forest” to the members of the Faculty of Science Committee on Teaching and Learning.

Ellison is the Senior Research Fellow in Ecology at the Harvard Forest, and an Adjunct Research Professor in the departments of Biology and Environmental Conservation at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. In 1992, he received the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Faculty Fellow award for “demonstrated excellence and continued promise both in scientific and engineering research and in teaching future generations of students to extend and apply human knowledge.”

“Harvard Forest is a fantastic example of ecological research,” says York biology Professor Dawn Bazely, one of the organizers of the talks. “Aaron Ellison is not only one of the top ecology researchers in the world, but he’s also a leader in teaching undergraduates about science, through the National Science Foundation’s Undergraduate Research Experience program, which brings about 30 undergrads from across the USA to Harvard Forest to do research, each summer.”

In his role as a senior research fellow at the Harvard Forest, Ellison studies food web dynamics and community ecology of wetlands and forests, evolutionary ecology of carnivorous plants, the response of plants and ants to global climate change, and the application of Bayesian statistical inference to ecological research and environmental decision-making. He has authored or co-authored more than 100 scientific papers, dozens of book reviews and software reviews, and the books A Primer of Ecological Statistics (2004) and A Field Guide to the Ants of New England (2012). He is the editor-in-chief of Ecological Monographs and in 2012, was elected a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America. At home in Roylaston, Massachusetts, a rural town of 1,000 people, Ellison is a member of the Conservation Commission.

At 7pm on Oct. 2, Farnsworth will deliver a public lecture titled, “Conserving the Rich Flora of Eastern North America”. The talk is co-sponsored by the Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability at York University, the Department of Biology and the North American Native Plant Society. Admission to this public lecture is free for university students who bring their identification, otherwise there is a $12 admission fee.

Elizabeth Farnsworth

“Elizabeth Farnsworth is a multi-talented biologist, whose work with the New England Wildflower Society builds bridges between the public and researchers in conservation Biology,” says Bazely.

Farnsworth is Senior Research Ecologist with the New England Wild Flower Society, and a biologist, educator, and scientific illustrator. She is also editor-in-chief of the botanical journal, Rhodora. At the society, she co-led the award-winning National Science Foundation-funded project, Go Botany, to develop an online guide to the regional flora for teaching botany. She previously coordinated planning for the conservation and management of over 100 species of rare plants. She has illustrated the Flora Novae Angliae, the Natural Communities of New Hampshire by the NH Natural Heritage Bureau, and three other books, and illustrated and co-wrote the A Field Guide to the Ants of New England (Yale University Press). She is co-author of the Connecticut River Boating Guide: Source to Sea and the Peterson Field Guide to the Ferns.

Farnsworth is a member of the graduate faculties of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the University of Rhode Island, and has taught at Smith College, Hampshire College, and the Conway School of Landscape Design. She formerly served as ecologist with the Connecticut Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. She has conducted scientific research on many ecosystems throughout the world, focusing on restoration, conservation, plant physiology, mangroves, and climate change. She was awarded a Bullard Research Fellowship by Harvard University in 2005 and a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in 1999. She has been a scientific consultant to the National Park Service, The Trustees of Reservations, US Forest Service, Massachusetts and Connecticut Natural Heritage Programs, United Nations and the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust.

The talks are well worthwhile attending, says Bazely. “Both Harvard Forest and the New England Wildflower Society have adopted a hugely interdisciplinary collaborative approach to research and engagement with multiple groups in society.”


INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE STUDY OF FORCED MIGRATION 15th CONFERENCE FORCED MIGRATION AND PEACE

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE STUDY OF FORCED MIGRATION 
15th CONFERENCE 
FORCED MIGRATION AND PEACE 
30 Years of the Cartagena Declaration on Asylum Seekers 
Cartagena, Colombia, 14 – 17 July 2014 
CALL FOR PANELS 
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: DECEMBER 1, 2013
Introduction 

The fifteenth IASFM Conference will take place in Cartagena de Indias (Colombia), from the 14 to the 17 of July 2014, at the Centro de Formación de la Agencia de Cooperación Española AECID. This event will constitute a space for reflection around the arguable relationship between forced migration and peace. Thus, the context under which the venue was chosen to host the conference is not coincidental. 

Colombia is the scenario in which two fundamental events have met; one from the past and the other belonging to future. The year 2014 commemorates the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Cartagena Declaration on Asylum Seekers, a regional initiative to confront the grave consequences of armed conflicts taking place in Mesoamérica, with the consequent spread of massive fluxes of refugees and internally displaced people all over the region. The Declaration was the final outcome of a common effort carried out by Governments, International Organizations and civil society whose main outcome was the crystallization of regional customary law on the widening of the limits of International Refugee Law. Likewise, it contributed to the progressive recognition of internally displaced as subjects of special protection. Finally, it was the starting point for the undertaking of several projects on humanitarian assistance and durable solutions, seen as central elements to peacebuilding.     

Currently, the Colombian Government and the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) are engaged in a peace negotiation process intended to end a 60-year-long armed conflict. Although one of the greatest tragedies of such phenomenon was the exodus of millions of people, it is a fact that a peace agreement between the Government and guerrillas will not mean the end of people’s displacement. 

The intersection of these two events constitutes a unique moment for the assumption of several challenges associated with forced migration, and gives IASFM the opportunity to develop a deeper reflection on the complex relations between forced migration and peace, from a global perspective.   

THEMES 

With the purpose of assuming the rather complex and ample relations between forced migration and pace, the Conference will handle five dimensions:   

1.- Peacebuilding and forced exodus: This dimension will address the need to include in the agenda of peaceful conflict resolution processes the management of internal displacement and refuge, as well as reparations to their victims. It will also examine the role of international actors in peacebuilding processes in relation to the management of forced migration through cooperation mechanisms similar to those that led to the Declaration of Cartagena. The participation of refugees and IDPs in peacebuilding processes, as well as in the design and implementation of public policy that can guarantee the right to return and ensure the sustainability of the process on the long term, will also take place during the conference. 

2.- Justice and forced migration: This approach will evaluate the possibilities that national judicial systems and international courts have to guarantee the rights to truth, justice and reparation of those who have been forced to migrate. It will create a special space to reflect upon the challenges faced in this task of transitional justice; as well as for the search of new forms of reparation for IDPs and refugees through judicial decisions. 

3.- Forced migration in the context of peace: Forced exodus is not only a product of armed conflict. In times of peace, different situations and actors generate processes of population expulsion which have not received the full attention from national and international authorities. Environmental migration and migratory movements caused by development projects are the first cases to come into mind, however, it should also include those related to the activities of gangs and criminals. 

4.- Regional responses to the forced exodus. In the past there have been cases in which regional initiatives have successfully addressed problems that result from the dynamics of forced exodus in specific contexts, such as the case of the 1984 Cartagena Declaration, but also of the OAU Convention Governing Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa 1969 and the recent African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa 2009. Such efforts should not be overlooked. It is crucial to work on building dialogue between local and international actors to contribute in the formulation of proposals addressing refugee and displacement situations with a regional focus. 

5. Durable solutions. The end of the armed conflict does not mean the end of the forced exodus, nor the return of victims to the places from which they were uprooted. It is necessary to look for alternatives to overcome the condition of vulnerability posed by forced exodus, alternatives that enable the restoration of the enjoyment of their rights, reinstitute their goods and lands they had been deprived of, and to establish the conditions necessary for them to regain their status as full citizens. The transition from humanitarian aid to development policies is essential. 

Structure of Conference 

The proposed conference seeks to create a space in which academic rigor engages with the compromises inherent in policy, as well as the challenges of practical work in the field. As such, while presentations of academic research will continue to provide the intellectual backbone of the conference, these will go hand in hand with round tables engaging policy makers and governmental stakeholders, as well as presentations and discussions around practical approaches to dealing with forced migration from a range of practitioners.  Furthermore, the conference will draw on non-academic analyses, interpretations and representations of forced migration (e.g., portrayals of displacement using art & crafts, performances, fictional literature, etc.) in order to diversify the entry points into discussion of the major themes identified. 

The conference will also become a forum for the development of a long overdue conversation. This is the dialogue that must take place between the actors of the global South. For this purpose, meeting places for academics, activists and policy makers in Latin America, Africa and Asia, will be established, in order to promote networking and the development of research agendas and joint work. The foregoing is without prejudice to the dialogue between the North and the Global South which will also be held throughout the event. 

The conference will be held between the 14th and 17th of July. An expected 300 participants will go to four plenary sessions and participate in conference panels which will discuss papers that revolve around any of the five previously mentioned themes dealing with the relationship between forced migration and peace. 

Submission of proposals for panels 

We invite scholars, students, practitioners, policy makers, people working with forced migrants, displaced persons and refugees to propose panels made up of three or four papers on topics related to the five themes of the conference. Likewise, we invite the submission of proposals for panel discussions of ongoing research projects that have reached at least preliminary conclusions. 

Please submit your abstracts online at this site: http://tinyurl.com/mobud4g. Proposals for panel and roundtable discussions of projects should include the following elements: 

• Identification of the type of proposal: panel or roundtable 
• Title of presentation 
• Description of the topic and connection to one of the themes identified.  If you are submitting on behalf of a panel, the titles and abstracts of your co-presenters must also be included in this section. Maximum 250 words per abstract summary. 
• Panelists 
• Thematic track of the conference that the panel belongs to. 

Proposals may be submitted in English or Spanish. The deadline for submission is December 1, 2013. The papers presented during the conference are expected to be at least final drafts of texts to publish or broadcast. The panelists that are approved must send these texts to the conference organizers no later than June 15, 2014. 

The best papers, taking into account their degree of creativity, innovation and contribution to the debate, will be considered for publication in scientific journals, regardless of the theme. 

Financial support 

Conference participants are responsible for their own expenses. Some financial assistance may be available to assist those who might be otherwise unable to attend the conference. Priority will be given to students, doctoral candidates, IDPs and refugees,  as well as participants from the Global South. Financial assistance will generally only be available to individuals presenting at the conference. Details of this assistance will be posted on the IASFM website in November 2013. Further details about the conference and the online submission form can be found on the IASFM conference website:http://www.iasfmconference.org. Requests for further information can be made to the following email address: be.sanchez20@uniandes.edu.co ormmillard@yorku.ca.


York hosts conference on sustaining a green economy

The following appeared in the Friday, October 25, 2013 edition of Y-File:

CANSEE

Brian Czech, champion of a steady-state economy, will give the keynote address Nov. 1 at an upcoming conference at York on sustaining a green economy.

Czech will argue for alternatives to a growth-based economy, the subject of his latest book,Supply Shock: Economic Growth at the Crossroads and the Steady State Solution. His is delivering the keynote at the biennial conference of the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics (CANSEE). The conference theme is Sustaining the Commons: Ideas and Actions for a Green Economy. Academics, policy makers, practitioners and activists from across traditional disciplines are expected to attend the conference Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 at Keele campus.

Czech is founding president of CANSEE, a chapter of the International Society for Ecological Economic, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing understanding of the relationships among ecological, social and economic systems for the mutual well-being of nature and people.

He earned a PhD in renewable natural resources studies from the University of Arizona with a minor in political science, and teaches ecological economics at Virginia Tech. A prolific writer about sustainable economics, he is also the author of Shoveling Fuel for a Runaway Train, which calls for an end to uneconomic growth, and The Endangered Species Act: History, Conservation Biology, and Public Policy.

The opening plenary, Ecological Economics, Degrowth and Denial: The Role of Social Engineering, will feature William Rees, co-developer of ecological footprint analysis. Other plenaries will discuss the business case for sustainability and economics for a flourishing Earth. There will be a panel discussion on societal uptake of green fiscal measures, focusing on the Canadian experience with environmental taxes and incentives, and policies for environmental sustainability.

Speakers will give presentations on topics such as Canadian energy and climate policy, complexity science, limits to growth, green indicators, systems thinking and urban sustainability.

York faculty participating at the conference include environmental studies professors Peter Victor, author of Managing without Growth. Slower by Design, not Disaster; Ellie Perkins, whose research focuses on feminist ecological economics, climate justice and community environmental education; and Christina Hoicka, an expert in sustainable energy economics.

The event is sponsored by York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, the David Suzuki and Ivey foundations, Green Analytics and BlueGreen Canada. It is funded by a grant from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada.


German atmospheric chemist will give this year’s Harold I. Schiff Lecture

The following appeared in the Friday, October 25, 2013 edition of Y-File:

 

kiendler-scharr-pflanzenkam

A German atmospheric chemist will give this year’s Harold I. Schiff LectureThursday.

 

Astrid Kiendler-Scharr (left) will discuss how a warming climate may be inducing changes in emissions of organic aerosols from vegetation and whether the changes are reducing or amplifying climate change.

 

The title of her talk is Chemistry Climate Interactions: Biogenic Emissions and their Contribution to Secondary Organic Aerosol. She is giving the talk Oct. 31 at 2:30pm in 103 Life Science Building.

 

Here is a summary of her talk:

 

Atmospheric aerosols impact climate directly by scattering and absorbing solar radiation and indirectly by acting as ice and cloud condensation nuclei. Secondary organic aerosols (SOA) comprise an important component of atmospheric aerosols. Biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOC) emitted by vegetation are a major source of SOA. It is known that BVOC emissions depend on climate, specifically on temperature and light. Therefore it is to be expected that a chemistry-climate interaction exists, in which climate change induces changes in BVOC emissions and thereby SOA formation, which feeds back to climate. The presentation details the state of the art knowledge on biogenic SOA and its climate relevance. The question of whether climate-induced changes in biogenic SOA formation may attenuate or amplify climate change is addressed based on experiments conducted in the Jülich Plant Atmosphere Chamber.

 

Kiendler-Scharr is  a professor at the University of Cologne, a director at the Institute of Energy and Climate Research of the Research Center Juelich, and head of a group researching Stable Isotopes in Aerosol. She did her doctoral work on “Development and application of a novel aircraft borne ion trap mass spectrometer apparatus for the analysis of trace gases and ions: measurements in a laboratory, in the plume of jet engines and atmospheric trace gas measurements with aircrafts.” Her Habilitation in  2010 was on “Formation of secondary organic aerosols from biogenic emissions of volatile organic compounds.”

 

This is the 23rd Harold I. Schiff Lecture. The series is organized by the Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry and was established in honour of York’s founding dean of science. Schiff was known for developing techniques to measure trace constituents in the upper atmosphere and for interpreting the physics and chemistry of the stratosphere.

 


DEATH OF EVIDENCE – OPEN ACCESS WEEK

The following appeared in the Thursday, October 17, 2010 edition of Y-File

DeathofEvidence-V

In conjunction with International Open Access 

Week (Oct. 21-27), York University Libraries will be mourning the “Death of Evidence,” and evidence-based research, on Oct. 22 at 1:30pm in the atrium of Scott Library. Those who would like to pay tribute to the long-form census, which has been cancelled; Library and Archives Canada, whose budget has been cut; or Canadian government scientists who have been silenced, are encouraged to join the Death of Evidence ceremony.

The ceremony will begin at 1:30pm in Central Square, as a procession accompanied by a bagpiper, which will lead guests to the Scott Library atrium (second floor). Three “eulogists,” Dawn Bazely, Janet Friskney and Valerie Preston will speak.

Bazely, professor of Biology at York and director of York University’s pan-university, senate-chartered research centre, the Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS), will speak on behalf of silenced government researchers. As both a professor, and director of IRIS since 2006, Bazely has participated in conversations about research related to science policy.  She is also a proponent for Open Access and has worked closely with York’s digital initiatives librarian to create the Digital Archive, Churchill Community of Knowledge, in Yorkspace.

Friskney, research officer in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies at York University, also spends time performing executive duties for the Bibliographical Society of Canada. It is on behalf of the Society that she’s been monitoring, for the past several years, the ongoing changes at Library and Archives Canada. She will be speaking on behalf of Library and Archives Canada.

Preston, professor of Geography at York and former York Director for CERIS — The Ontario Metropolis Centre, will speak on behalf of the long-form census and how its cancellation affects researchers. As a social geographer, Preston’s research examines migration trends and policies with particular attention to questions of exclusion and inclusion for immigrant men and women.  She has also worked closely with community and government partners on research about immigrant integration in Canadian housing and labour markets.  

Following the speakers’ eulogies, those in the audience will have the opportunity to speak on behalf of science, the census and Library and Archives Canada. More information about the Death of Evidence event can be found here.

Death of Evidence Twitter Contest

From Oct. 15 – 22, members of the York community can submit their own tributes to evidence-based research via Twitter, using the hashtag #RIPevidence. Telling the Libraries, in 140 characters or less, what you will miss most about the loss of evidence-based research, will enter you into a draw to win a copy of Chris Turner’s book, The War on Science: Muzzled Scientists and Wilful Blindness in Stephen Harper’s Canada. The randomly selected, winning entry, will be announced at the Death of Evidence event on Oct. 22. Full contest details can be found here.

Open Access Week Tabling

Those interested in speaking with York librarians about Open Access or the “death” of evidence-based research can stop by the awareness booths on Oct. 23 at the Steacie Science and Engineering Library from 11am – 12pm, Osgoode Law Library from 12:30-1:30pm, the Bronfman Business Library from 2:30-3:30pm, and the Frost Library from 10:30-11:30am on Oct. 24.

For more information about this event visit the y.file.news.yorku.ca and York University Library


York Sustainable Energy Initiative Report

greenjobscover-2-3

Green energy debates grounded more in ideology than fact/future of green energy sector

 in Ontario hangs in the balance:  York Sustainable Energy Initiative Report

York University’s Sustainable Energy Initiative (SEI) announces the publication of the 5th in its series of research papers on Ontario Electricity Policy. Understanding the Economic Impact of Renewable Energy Initiatives, by SEI Co-Chair Professor Mark Winfield, examines the debates around the Ontario’s Green Energy and Green Economy Act as an energy and economic development strategy. Paper can be found here: http://sei.info.yorku.ca/files/2013/10/greenjobs-web-oct10-1.pdf

The paper finds that the empirical data on the employment impacts of the Ontario 

legislation is extremely limited. Rather, the evidence regarding the economic impacts of the GEGEA is found to be almost entirely based on the results of economic modelling exercises. Critics and supporters of the legislation have arrived at very different conclusions through such exercises. These outcomes are similar to those seen in other jurisdictions pursuing renewable energy initiatives. The paper explores the reasons for the different conclusions being reached over the impacts of renewable energy initiatives.  Differences in modelling approaches, assumptions regarding the costs of renewable energy technologies relative to non-renewable alternatives and most importantly the 

treatment and valuation of environmental and other externalities and risks in modelling the cost impacts of different energy technologies are found to be key factors in explaining the different conclusions. 

Exploring the range of perspectives that underlie these differences in modelling 

approaches and assumptions, the paper notes that debates surrounding renewable energy initiatives are not bounded by questions directly related to energy policy. Rather they are embedded within wider ideological debates about the appropriate roles of 

government, public policy and markets in achieving societal goals. 

In policy terms, FITs and similar renewable energy initiatives are seen by their proponents as politically feasible mechanisms for addressing institutionally embedded biases with 

energy systems in favour of conventional technologies. They are also seen as a means of dealing with the consistent failure of governments to implement effective measures to place meaningful value on the externalized environmental and social costs and risks associated with conventional technologies in energy system planning, design and implementation.

The paper also assesses Ontario’s renewable energy initiative as an industrial development strategy. The paper finds that the province was very late in establishing a coherent strategy for the development of the renewable energy manufacturing and services sector. The future prospects for the sector are found to be under serious threat as a result of the uncertainty regarding the province’s ongoing commitment to the development of renewable energy resources. In the absence of a resolution of the issue of the province’s future direction, and of a coherent sectoral development strategy, the paper

 finds that there is a serious risk that GEGEA exercise will amount to an expensive but temporary countercyclical intervention as opposed to an investment in development of an industrial sector with potential to make significant long term contributions to the Ontario economy.

For more information contact:

Mark S. Winfield, Ph.D. SEI Co-Chair

Tel: 416-736-2100 Ext 21078

marksw@yorku.ca

Tanya Roberts

SEI Coordinator

tarob@yorku.caTel: 416-736-2100 Ext 44035

 

The Studies in Ontario Electricity Policy Series

The Sustainable Energy Initiative Studies in Ontario Electricity Policy series presents new research by SEI Faculty and Graduate Students on current issues in energy and electricity policy in Ontario. The studies provide much greater detail and depth of analysis than is possible in traditional academic journal articles, and are intended to inform and encourage debates about the future of the province's energy strategies.sei.info.yorku.ca/publications


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