Canada’s Path to Net Zero and the Future for Local Economic Development
Canada’s path to Net Zero will require an economic transformation on a scale that the nation has experienced on three times in its past – Confederation and the establishment of a transcontinental economy 1870-1913, post World War II industrialization and urbanization, and CUSTA/NAFTA after 1988/1993. The difference this time is that massive investments required for decarbonizing our economy will be for replacement, and not expansion, of the assets, resources and industries that have generated our high standard of living. Instead of creating conditions to expand our global markets, we will be working to maintain competitiveness and market share. Most importantly, de-carbonizing our energy systems and industrial base will potentially reshape the map in terms of locational comparative advantages for producers creating winners and losers among Canadian communities. At this time we are flying blind with respect to the challenges and opportunities for local economic development over the next few decades since the Federal Climate Policies implemented to get us to net zero are being assessed and evaluated with “spatially blind” models. While the economic transformation resulting from our movement to a net zero emissions economy may pose little harm to the national economy, it will likely fundamentally alter the futures of local economies in predictable ways.
About the Speaker
Dr. Herb Emery
Dr. Herb Emery
An advisor to federal and provincial policymakers, Dr. Herb Emery focuses his research on the development of the Canadian economy and the persistence of long-standing regional disparities. Aside from understanding the economic fundamentals of growth in a small open economy, Dr. Emery’s work incorporates political, historical, cultural and other institutional factors that have shaped Canadian development processes.
Dr. Emery began as the Vaughan Chair in July, 2016. He holds an MA and PhD in Economics from the University of British Columbia. His academic career began at the University of Calgary where, from 1993 to 2016, he assembled a track record of demonstrated excellence in research, teaching and leadership.
At the University of Calgary, he served as Full Professor in Economics and Research Director for The School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary as well as the Svare Professor in Health Economics, a joint position in the Department of Community Health Science in the Faculty of Medicine and the Department of Economics. From 2010 to 2015, he served as Managing Editor of Canadian Public Policy/Analyse de politiques, Canada's foremost journal examining economic and social policy.
Starting in 2019, Herb has led a major initiative, the JDI Roundtable on Manufacturing Competitiveness in New Brunswick, aimed at exploring policies and strategies for invigorating the province’s longstanding economic engine of manufacturing exports. In a post-Coronavirus global economy, manufacturing is expected to be a critical sector in all advanced economies for economic recovery and growth. The Roundtable is a research program and forum through which we can explore how the province and region can benefit from re-regionalization of manufacturing supply chains with a policy focus on the competitiveness of our exporters.