Do you agree that our great distances and trade opportunities mean that Canada must be particularly focused on transport achievement? And that we must balance improving the environmental performance of the transport sector against the realities of cost, reliability, accessibility and speed?
If so, then we hope that you will join us in Toronto on the evening of March 26 and all day on March 27, 2012 for Moving Canada Ahead. This conference will focus on the economic and other consequences of the vast array of policy choices Canada is now confronting in the transport sector, particularly with respect to fuel composition, fuel types, technological innovation and regulatory and legal requirements at both the federal and provincial levels. The Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources, will open the conference with an address.
Registration for Moving Canada Ahead: Fuelling Prosperity and Sustainability in our Transport System is now closed. Contact Robin Bourke at 613-482-8327 ext. 101.
Room reservations can be made at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto. Please contact the hotel directly at 416-869-1600 and indicate that you are attending the Macdonald-Laurier Institute conference.
Date: March 26 to 27, 2012
Location: The Westin Harbour Castle, One Harbour Square, Toronto ON M5J 1A6
Accommodations: The Westin Harbour Castle, One Harbour Square, Toronto ON M5J 1A6
Speaker: John Hofmeister
Hydrocarbons and the future
Transportation and mobility are fundamental building blocks of North American economies and lifestyles. They promote what North America, specifically Canada and the United States, is renowned for: freedom and commerce. The notion that hydrocarbon energy to support transport and mobility is becoming estranged from our future or that its supporters and suppliers, users and beneficiaries are somehow less well-regarded in political society is utter nonsense, unless we allow it to become so by our own passivity. A look in the mirror of reality says the world needs another 25 to 30 million barrels of oil per day by the 2020s in order to bring other societies closer to the level of development that we have enjoyed for decades. This is simply unstoppable. So rather than positioning hydrocarbons and their use as politically incorrect, let’s position them appropriately on the altar of society. Let’s promote the value they produce, economic, social and cultural, while addressing future use in responsible and sustainable ways, including the use of technology and alternative liquid sources, to be ambassadors of what we believe and not apologists for what we do.
Speaker: Pierre Desrochers
Plentiful and affordable energy as a key driver of economic growth
Despite the fact that human beings have become ever more efficient over time at handling resources, economic development has always required that greater amounts of energy per capita be harnessed and put to work. In recent years, however, we have increasingly been told that it is possible to decouple GDP growth from energy growth. Using historical evidence, a case will be made that plentiful and affordable energy remains a prerequisite for meaningful economic development and lifting billions of human beings out of poverty.
Speaker: Wendell Cox
Mobility and prosperity in the cities of the future
The ability of people and goods to move around quickly and cheaply is at the heart of successful cities. In this talk noted economist and demographer Wendell Cox will look at why transportation and energy issues are at the heart of debates about what the city of the future will look like, as well as at what both human behavior and economics is teaching us about how to build cities and transport networks that make people happy and prosperous.
Panel One: Jevon’s Paradox and improving transport system efficiency
The 19th century economist William Jevons showed that when technological progress allows us to use a resource (like fuel) more efficiently, the paradoxical result is that we use more of that resource (because we get increasing bang for our buck). Can we, then, reconcile Canada’s need for increased transport system efficiency with policy-makers’ desire to lessen fuel consumption? What is the most cost-effective mix of strategies to produce the best results:
1) innovation in fuels themselves to mitigate, among other things, their carbon intensity (e.g. changes to the mix of fuels as well as to the composition of individual fuels);
2) improvements in transport technologies that reduce fuel consumption;
3) managing consumer behaviour (through e.g. improved incentives, distance based insurance, fuel taxes, congestion pricing); and
4) improved logistics and system management (e.g., deregulation, such as removal of anti-cabotage rules, to increase load factors)?
Panel Two: Future fuel supply: Myths and realities
Transportation in Canada is responsible for roughly 27% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, so no GHG policy can succeed that does not deal intelligently with this source. But too often policymakers assume that this means reducing the use of fossil fuels in the overall fuel mix, whereas technological innovations in both fuels themselves and the engines that burn then, as well as the behaviour of consumers can have a powerful impact. Moreover some argue that liquid fuels are unlikely to be replaced any time soon for transport purposes because of their unique characteristics. Is transport a “low hanging fruit” sector for GHG reductions, or a “top-of-tree” one? What is the most effective strategy for reconciling environmental and transport efficiency goals?
The current fuel supply is composed today of 95% petroleum products and a vast and expensive refining and distribution system has been created to make these products widely available. What should we expect the mix of fuel types to look like in 10 or 20 years and why? What are the real alternatives (technologically, economically and environmentally) to petroleum products?
Panel Three: Is infrastructure destiny?
Petroleum product distribution systems have been built up at enormous cost over more than a century, allowing them to benefit from significant “network effects”. Many alternative fuels, however (especially those that cannot be delivered through the same system, such as hydrogen, natural gas, electricity, etc.), face considerable network barriers, including consumer resistance, high costs of building a distribution system, reluctance of manufacturers to mass produce vehicles for which fuel is not easily available, unresolved technical weaknesses (e.g. battery technology), etc. Can such “system inertia” be overcome and at what cost?
Panel Four: Fuel system sustainability: The international experience
Canada is not alone in dealing with the challenge of reducing consumption of fossil fuels, and there will therefore be no “Made in Canada” solution, but rather a series of incremental improvements and transformational technologies that will come from all over the world. What does international best practice have to teach us about what works and what does not?
March 26th Opening Address: The Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources
Mark Corey is the Assistant Deputy Minister, Energy Sector, Natural Resources Canada.