Canadians enjoy a high standard of living underpinned by a reliable and secure supply of energy. Like many other countries, however, Canada is currently faced with some difficult decisions given the realities of climate change and the need to reduce emissions, as well as the finite nature of its fossil fuel supply.

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Chapter 1 examines the evolution of Canada’s energy system in the global context in order to develop an understanding of where our energy comes from, trends in production and consumption, and the scale of the problem in maintaining future energy supply while minimizing environmental impacts. It looks at oil, gas, coal, hydro, nuclear and non-hydro renewables. It also looks at emissions and the correlation between economic activity and energy consumption, as well as trends in energy- and emissions-intensity.

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Chapter 2 examines Canada’s remaining non-renewable energy resources. Existing oil and gas resources are assessed in terms of play type, future viability, resource estimates and National Energy Board (NEB) projections of future production. It also examines jobs and government revenues from non-renewable resource extraction and the decline in royalty and corporate tax payments despite increasing production.

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Chapter 3 examines electricity capacity and generation by fuel as well as NEB projections of future generation through 2040. Given that electricity is the principal output provided by renewable sources such as solar and wind, particular attention is devoted to generation from solar, wind, biomass and tidal energy. The implications of Canada’s mid-century scenarios for emissions reduction in terms of new capacity required and cost are also reviewed for each carbon-free generation source. This section also looks at renewable heating and liquid fuel sources including biomass, geothermal energy and biofuels.

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Chapter 4 summarizes key considerations for an energy strategy and the projections provided in Canada’s pan-Canadian framework and mid-century strategy scenarios to reduce emissions by 30% and 80% from 2005 levels, respectively. It also reviews the implications of NEB projections of future energy production on Canada’s emissions-reduction targets. The low likelihood of success given the implications of the scenarios and projections is highlighted, along with key focus areas that will increase the chances of success in both emissions reduction and future energy security.

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Conclusions and recommendations for a Canadian energy strategy include ten ideas to assist in the development of a more viable and sustainable long-term energy plan, based on the analysis in the report.

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