How best can Canada reduce its transportation emissions?

Event Details

  • Wednesday, October 19, 2016
  • 1:00-2:00 pm EDT
  • Free
  • Online

How best can Canada reduce its transportation emissions?

Live Panel Discussion

On October 4th, the Ecofiscal Commission released it’s latest report, Course Correction: It’s Time to Rethink Canadian Biofuel Policies. Biofuels—such as ethanol and biodiesel—are a renewable alternative to fossil fuels for vehicles. To what extent have biofuel policies helped to lower greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector? Are they the best way to do so given other competing technologies such as electric vehicles, compressed-natural gas engines, or hydrogen fuel cells? And what about other modes of transportation, including transit, cycling, ride sharing and—perhaps sooner than we all think—autonomous vehicles? These and more questions will be discussed during this live panel.



Chris Ragan

Chair, Canada's Ecofiscal Commission
McGill University, Department of Economics
Christopher Ragan has been teaching economics at McGill University since 1989. He is also a Research Fellow at the C.D. Howe Institute where from 2010 through 2013 he held the Institute’s David Dodge Chair in Monetary Policy, and for many years was a member of the Institute’s Monetary Policy Council. From January 2009 through June 2010, he was the Clifford Clark Visiting Economist at the Department of Finance in Ottawa, where he served as a senior advisor to the Minister and other senior Finance officials. During 2004-05, he served as the Special Advisor to the Governor of the Bank of Canada. Ragan is the author of Economics (formerly co-authored with Richard Lipsey), which after fourteen editions is still the most widely used introductory economics textbook in Canada. Ragan also has a regular column in The Globe and Mail. During the mid-1990s he was the founding Editor-in-Chief of World Economic Affairs. Chris Ragan received his B. A. (Honours) in economics in 1984 from the University of Victoria and his Master’s degree in economics from Queen’s University in 1985. He then moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts where he completed his Ph.D. in economics at M.I.T. in 1989.

Expert Panel


Mark Jaccard

Professor, Energy and Materials Research Group Simon Fraser University
Mark has been a professor since 1986 in the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University. The only exception is 1992 to 1997, when he took a leave of absence to serve as Chair and CEO of the British Columbia Utilities Commission. His PhD is from the Energy Economics and Policy Institute at the University of Grenoble. He has published over 100 academic papers, most of these related to his principal research focus: the design and application of energy-economy models that assess the effectiveness of sustainable energy and climate policies. For his career research, he was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2009 and British Columbia’s Academic of the Year in 2008. He has contributed to several major processes and assessments, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (93-96 and 2010-2012), the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (1995-2001 and 2007-2009), Canada’s National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy (2006-2009), British Columbia’s Climate Action Team (2007-2009), and the Global Energy Assessment (2008-2012). In 2006, his book, Sustainable Fossil Fuels, won the Donner Prize for top policy book in Canada. At Simon Fraser University he teaches graduate and undergraduate versions of an interdisciplinary course in energy and materials sustainability, covering basic physics, technologies, economics, policy and human cognition and behavior.

Dianne Zimmerman

Program Director, Transportation & Urban Solutions Pembina Institute

Dianne is the director of the Pembina Institute’s transportation and urban solutions program in Ontario. Dianne focuses on engaging in a variety of strategies and activities characteristic of the Pembina Institute: policy research and analysis, transportation sector data analysis and scenario modelling; convening, consulting and collaborating on projects with key stakeholders; and awareness building via public and media engagement. The emphasis in Ontario is to support sustainable transportation solutions and location-efficient development in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, while sharing research and pilot project experiences with other jurisdictions across Canada.

Prior to joining the Pembina Institute, Dianne worked for Suncor Energy supporting their climate change action plan, implemented greenhouse gas regulations, advocated for policies and incentives to increase renewable energy development and worked collaboratively with stakeholders to find solutions to complex sustainability and energy issues. She led the stakeholder consultation process to build two large scale wind energy projects (totalling 140 MW) under Ontario’s Green Energy Act. She has also worked with Pollution Probe, the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance and the Summerhill Group.

Dianne has a Master of Environmental Studies from York University and a bachelor of arts degree in commerce and environmental studies from the University of Toronto, and is a LEED accredited professional. She is co-founder of Connecting Environmental Professionals and past co-chair of Alberta EcoTrust Foundation, and she received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. She enjoys spending time with her family and lives in Port Credit – a great example of a location-efficient community.

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