Top Environmental Trends for 2017

We reached out to our ECO Research Community to discover their top environmental trends for 2017, and what they feel was accomplished in the past year.

ECO asked: What was the greatest environmental accomplishment of 2016?

Survey says Global climate change initiatives, with emphasis on the Paris Agreement.
At the national level, there was praise for the Government of Canada’s Federal initiatives including:

  • Climate change action
  • Asbestos ban
  • Microplastic ban
  • Northern Gateway pipeline decision

At the provincial level, there was buzz surrounding Alberta’s plans to implement a Carbon Tax.

ECO asked: What technologies are changing or being developed that are going to make a difference in 2017?

Survey says: energy production and use

  • Better adaptation of energy sources to cold climates
  • Harnessing tidal power for energy
  • Developing renewable energy technologies (such as solar roofs)
  • Using wastewater for energy production and improving waste re-use for energy production
  • A shift toward green energy and the continuation of that trend

An honourable mention was given to communications technology. Members would like better communication and understanding of environmental issues and to improve public engagement.

ECO asked: What policy changes do you think will make a difference in 2017?

Survey says: ECO Research Community members reflect a Canadian perspective.  Respondents expect positive action from 2016 climate change initiatives.

Other trends include:

Carbon Tax at federal and provincial levels
Land policy initiatives

  • Expanding conservation areas
  • Ontario’s implementation of the Contaminated Site Remediation System
  • R&D and policies linking GHG emissions to land us
  • Alberta’s Tier 1 Soil and Groundwater Remediation Guidelines (revised Feb 2016)

Federal policy reviews and changes

  • Fisheries Act
  • National Energy Board
  • Canadian Environmental Assessment Act

ECO asked: In your opinion, what do you think will be the greatest environmental issue/challenge of 2017?
Survey says: Respondents listed a range of environmental issues from high-level political/social issues to specific environmental conditions and spheres of activity including:

  • Conflict between development and environmental health
  • Carbon tax: Alberta’s implementation of a Carbon Tax to kick off 2017; on the Federal level with planned initiatives; carbon capture technology and the potential for business
  • Climate change: the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change developed with input from provincial and federal governments spans a wide range of Canadian climate change issues
  • Social license and public permission issues: fracking and pipelines were among the responses that were deemed significant issues/challenges in the year ahead.
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