policy, we do not pick areas of winners [and] losers.” But many of the day’s presentations had indicated that China, Japan, and Europe are clearly choosing which industries to support and have thereby drawn a distinction between two kinds of policies. As Canada, in his observation, tended always to fall “somewhere in between,” he wished to know the Canadian thinking on the subject.
Dr. Nicholson, calling Dr. Myers’s question “terrific,” declared that Canada was indisputably “in the grip of schizophrenia.” The philosophy in the country, at its current state of development, is “very much to be guided by the market—in other words, a market pull rather than a technology push.” That said, however, Canada does not have as much native diversity as the United States simply because of the scale of its markets, and circumstances do matter in thinking about strategy.
If a sector orientation does exist, and Dr. Nicholson sensed that one was developing, it is probably in the area of energy and environmentally related technologies. The former is obviously of great concern to the world, and Canada enjoys a relative abundance of energy resources. As for the latter, any projection of the world’s future needs will include increasing demand for ways to lower the carbon content, or the pollution content, of units of GDP.
Regarding environment as an emerging priority, Canada has created a couple of foundations devoted to it and has recently released a plan for meeting the Kyoto targets for reducing greenhouse gases sometime in the 2010-2012 period. Although admitting this is “a very stretchy target,” Dr. Nicholson called it “probably the toughest one in the world relative to the business-as-usual trajectory that we’ve got to cope with.” He added that whether or not the target is met, setting the target will generate new demands as some of the large emitters try to meet their specific targets. In turn, this will stimulate innovation in Canada, he predicted, and as “all kinds of smart people and entrepreneurs” compete for a significant amount of money available through the new Climate Fund.18
This is one of numerous instances in which the benefit of a policy that was established for rather different reasons might end up having the happy, unintended consequence of being a big driver for innovation. It might also prove “a bit of an equalizer vis-à-vis the [United States],” Dr. Nicholson said, suggesting that the incentive is about to burgeon in Canada “to really work hard on producing green energy that can be exported in its technological form around the world.”
Through a new Climate Fund, the Government of Canada intends to purchase 75–115 Mt of reduction credits a year, up to 40 percent of the total reduction needed in 2008–2012. The government agreed to allocate CAD$1 billion per year over the next 5 years and projects funding of $4 billion–$5 billion 2008–2012. Pew Center on Global Climate Change Web site, accessed at <http://www.pewclimate.org/policy_center/international_policy/canada_climate_plan.cfm>.