Mobility Network presents ‘Getting mobility to Net Zero’

Mobility Network presents ‘Getting mobility to Net Zero’

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Welcome everyone, I'm Eric Miller Director of Mobility Network and I'm a professor in the Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering at the University of Toronto. It's my great pleasure to welcome you to the fifth session of The Way forward in 2023, but before we start we wish to acknowledge this land on which the University of Toronto operates. For thousands of years it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and Mississaugas of the Credit. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land. Again before we get

goingm please note that the event is being recorded and it will be shared. The next slide, please. Mobility Network, these guys at the School of Cities and is the University of Toronto Institutional Strategic Initiative. Two years ago, U of T recognized the sustainable movement of people and goods as a global challenge that can only be addressed by a cross-disciplinary collaboration among universe researchers, further through collaboration with the public and partners in government industry. Mobility Network is a group of about 70 researchers from across U of T's three campuses whose diverse interests span the broad scope of critical issues about mobility and is the University of Toronto's answer to that brand challenge. We've organized that expertise in seven knowledge clusters. Of

course, everything is connected to everything, but this organizing principle shows our focus on key challenge areas like equity and inclusion, land use and economy, climate change and health, emerging new mobility technologies and services, and let's not forget freight and urban good movement. We wrap that in the green circle ... Next slide, please Judy.

Sorry about that. We wrap these within the green circle to remind ourselves the transportation mobility and accessibility is about people, about who they are, and the needs and wants they have that generate their demand for travel and that is wrapped in an outer circle it reminds us that solutions must work within the constraints of our natural environment, our built environment, and our governance environment as well. Welcome to the fifth of six planels that will run every other week until mid-June, this session is titled 'Getting Mobility to Net Zero' and with that I will pass it off to professor Marianne Hatzopoulou, our moderator. Please note that the chat has been set up for you to send your questions directly to the moderator so, please do use the chat to send in your questions and Marianne will sort through them. Over to you Marianne.

Thank you, Eric and welcome everyone. I'm Marianne Hatzopoulou, I'm a professor in the Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering at U of T, University of Toronto. I'm also the director of Positive Zero Transport Futures and my research is primarily geared around transport decarbonization and the co-benefits, societal, public health, co-benefits of decarbonization. I lead the Climate Change and Health knowledge cluster of Mobility Network and today, I'm going to be your moderator on on the panel discussion titled 'Getting Mobility to Net Zero.' If you're here today, you probably know that transportation has a big share of greenhouse gas (GG) emissions in Toronto, in Ontario, across Canada around third of GG emissions are attributed to transportation. We all know that electrification has a role to play, is a big part of the solution, but how do we get there, right. What does that mean to

get to Net Zero, what does it mean to electrify while enhancing societal and public health co-benefits. Today, our three panelists are really going to go through you know different stories and implications around decarbonization around the concept of next zero and bring some experience about the steps that are being taken and talk about the challenges and opportunities as well of electric vehicles and of EV technology. Each of our speakers will take a few minutes to share their perspective, bring you know their research, their expertise into the discussion and then, I'll moderate a panel discussion. The chat has been configured so, that you can message me directly so, please post your questions to me and I will curate them and post them to the discussions. I'll introduce each of our panelists today in turn and I'll begin with Steve Easterbrook. Steve is the director of the School of Environment and a professor of Computer Science at the University of Toronto. His current

research focuses on how climate scientists develop computational models to improve their understanding of Earth systems and climate change and the broader question of how that knowledge is shared with other communities. Today, Steve is going to set the stage by talking about what does it mean to have a Net Zero target, the notion of setting Target dates, where this come from, why it's there, and why it is so important? Thank you, Steve. Whenever you're ready, you can go ahead. Thank you very much. Let me just start. I've got a couple

of images that I want to share with you just to set the scene so, let me just start by sharing my screen, does that look okay? Okay. Let's talk about what Net Zero is first of all just to set the stage and this diagram comes out of the latest IPCC report was released in 2021. aThis is a conceptual picture so there's a timeline along the bottom here, but there's no actual dates on it so, the question of when we hit Net Zero is an important question, but let's leave that out for the moment.

The idea is we're up there in the top left hand corner, global emissions may have already peaked, but there's some doubt about that where if they either haven't peaked yet and they're still rising or we might have reached the peak, they certainly haven't started falling, but the idea is at some point in the future we get to this black dot in the middle of this graph here where any remaining global emissions that we can't eliminate if we can't get down to zero absolute emissions are offset by some negative emissions, our ability essentially to pull greenhouse gases back out of the atmosphere, again. The black dotted line is the balance between the positive emissions and the negative emissions. A couple of things to say about this chart one is there's a dark green stripe along the bottom there which is existing natural processes that remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere those processes are tiny in comparison to human emissions greenhouse gases and then, there's the lighter green stripe which at the moment is largely hypothetical so, there are technologies in development right now that will hopefully pull greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere, but those huge questions right now about whether that can be done in a cost-effective way, what the energy requirements are for those technologies and whether they can be scaled up to anything reasonable. This idea of Net Zero first of all depends upon what is currently a hypothetical that we can build these negative emissions technologies.

The second thing I want to say about this is let me just add one thing to this get this working here, there we go, it's just what's going on in the atmosphere while we descend this curve. There's lots of engineers in the meeting here, so I hope this is is easy to follow, but while those emissions are falling, greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are still rising, we are still adding to the problem. It's a cumulative problem that we're dealing with, so even though it looks like we're going to be climbing down that curve, all of that time, greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are rising and that means the warming is increasing and the warming will be increasing exponentially. When we

hit Net Zero, all that means is we stabilize greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. We're not adding any more, but they don't fall, they don't start disappearing, it takes actually thousands of years for carbon dioxide to be removed from the atmosphere, so the only point at which greenhouse gases in the atmosphere ... Hang on, let's go back a sec. The only point at which they start falling is when we get into net negative territory. There's an interesting implication for this and that means at the point we reach Net Zero, climate change does not stop, so we stabilize the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at Net Zero, but the warming continues because it takes a couple of decades for the Earth system to reach its equilibrium if you've got a stable atmosphere, so even after Net Zero we should expect several decades further warming and the only point at which the warming really stops is when we get into that negative emissions territory. One thing to

hold into your heads about Net Zero, I think of it as it's a good start, it's not the destination. Second thing I want to say and I think this is the most interesting result to come out of climate science in the last 20 years. This is another diagram from the IPCC report, it's a horrible diagram they've packed far too much information in it, but let me just show you what I think is important here. First of all, the x-axis here is not annual emissions, it's cumulative emissions over time in gigatonnes of Carbon Dioxide.

The arbitrary starting point here is 1850, kind of dawn of the industrial era and the y-axis is rising global surface temperature and you can see the black line starts off that's historical warming and historical emissions and then, the coloured lines with some error spread of error on there uncertainty I should say are a number of different future scenarios they're by the way all the scenarios are cut off at 2050 here so under all, but one of those scenarios the warming would continue beyond 2050 and the scenarios are how quickly will we climb down that emissions curve or do we keep growing it initially before we climb it down and so on. The single thing to take away from this figure and the key reason I want to show it to you is that is approximately a linear relationship between cumulative emissions and temperature rights. If that's a linear relationship and it's a robust result against all model results, it's been replicated again and again and again there's a slight disagreement in the models as to what the slope of the line is, but they all agree it's a linear relationship. A linear relationship between cumulative emissions and global surface temperature rise so let's strip away all the complexity to this diagram and there's the straight-line linear relationship. This is the same graph I just showed you, but with all of the other detail removed. You can use this analysis to turn any global temperature target and we've talked about two degrees, we've talked about the much more ambitious 1.5

degrees. You can use that straight line to give you what we call a carbon budget. Let's say we want to hit that we always stay below that 1.5 degree threshold you plus a line across to the to our relinion relationship and drop a line down to the cumulative emissions and it says okay well historically up until today we've burnt uh 2400 gigatonnes if you want to stay below 1.5 degrees, your remaining global budget is only another 500 gigatonnes of carbon. If we burn through more than that

no matter how we do it, where we do it, when we do it, if we use more than that at any point in the future we'll exceed the 1.5 degree threshold and then, the similar analysis for the two degrees. You get a bigger budget, but the same thing applies it doesn't matter who burns it, it doesn't matter when they burn it, if it is burnt, we will exceed the two degree threshold.

Most climate scientists I speak to now say the 1.5 degree threshold is locked in. We will probably exceed that within the next 10 years and there's almost nothing we can do to stop it. What we're looking at if we if we stable the 2 degree threshold is some overshoot on the 1.5 and if we

bring in those negative emissions technologies, we can then perhaps bring that overshoot back down again back down to 1.5 degrees. But, in all of these scenarios the warming we've seen so far plus the warming we're going to see in the next decade we're stuck with. It's there forever, in other words the planet does not cool off again just because you've stopped emitting Carbon Dioxide. What does that look like then globally? Here is the curve, we climbed up.

This is just CO2 emissions, there are other greenhouse gases we should worry about as well, but it simplifies things if you focus on just one of them. The other graphs all look similar. If we say we want to stay below the the two degree threshold, getting down to Net Zero by 2050 is is the what the models show is necessary that looks something like this. That looks something like us climbing down that emissions curve in about a third of the time that we climbed up it. That's a pretty dramatic ambitious target and yet if we don't do that, we're burning through that two degree threshold and the consequences for the planet are going to be dire.

Two more slides then, I just want to show this because we're going to be talking about transport today. This chart just jumps out at me because it says the most inefficient transport, we have available passenger cars is the dominant share of of those CO2 emissions from the transport sector, but let me perhaps okay. Here's perhaps a takeaway and this is a busy slide, I apologize for that, but what I've done is perhaps set some challenges here for transportation and I've divided it into two areas and that's what the dotted line is. The first set is what does it mean to get to Net Zero that means we have to decarbonize all transportation systems and we have to do that (this is the bit below the dotted line) while we are adapting to a rapidly changing climate.

If we're decarbonizing all transportation systems take a systems of systems view of this you've got to look at the complete life cycle of all transportation, the construction of new transportation systems has to become Net Zero. We're going to be building this new clean energy zero, zero carbon transport system while we're trying to reach Net Zero in all the other sectors as well and there are some sectors where you really don't know how to do that especially concrete and steel is still making is making great progress on getting Net Zero area but it's a long way of it. We're going to be building our new infrastructure with technologies that still produce a lot of greenhouse gases, so it becomes a bootstrapping problem that carbon budget I showed you has to be devoted to building the new infrastructure. Secondly, during operation one of the things that we need to take on board is that if we think decarbonizing means just electrifying everything, we're kidding ourselves there will not be enough clean energy generation to even just replace our current energy needs, let alone growing demand globally, at least not within the time frame we're looking at up to 2050, so we can't just assume you electrify everything. We have to make very significant energy cuts, so that means a lot of energy efficiency technologies. It essentially means rethinking actually how we move around not just electrifying the system as it exists currently.

Then, we also have to look at the disposalm there's the carbon emissions from disposal from the destruction of any infrastructure, but also we'll have to take seriously the idea we might have to decommission existing transportation infrastructure that locks us into consuming fossil fuels before at the end of its natural life. In other words, before we would normally phase it out, we might have to decommission some existing systems. All while we're dealing with how you make our transportation systems more resilient because of the consequences of climate change, the extreme heat, events the flooding, the intense storms, and all the uncertainty that the new climate regime brings within a rapidly changing socio-economic context because we need to be prepared for waves of climate refugees from hotter climates. We need to be prepared for financial turmoil as markets adjust to this climate-changed world and we need to adapt to the fact that there's going to be growing precarity, the nature of work will change, the nature of the disparity of wealth between rich and poor will change, and it becomes a question of how we build a just transportation system as well as a Net Zero one. Maybe that's a good place for me to stop.

Perfect. Thank you very much Steve and next up is Dianne. Diane is a City of Mississauga's environment manager. She works with City departments external stakeholders to identify innovative projects to transition the City of Mississauga to a Net Zero City. Prior to joining the City, she led Partners in Project Green, a program designed to advance sustainability efforts with businesses and municipalities in the GTA and before that, she was a Director of Transportation for the Pembina Institute, finding solutions to reduce freight emissions primarily and support increased transit efficiency. Before that, she worked for Suncor Energy, advocating for renewable energy policies. Today,

Diane will talk about the municipal response to the science and targets and to the changing science, what mechanisms and levers help a municipality drive to Net Zero, and what steps Mississauga is taking to achieve 2030 and 2050 goals. That's wonderful, thank you so much and thank you for inviting me today. I do have also a couple of slides and and Steven has done a great job in identifying what the climate imperative looks like and so as a municipality as the City of Mississauga, we recognize the sort of the size and magnitude of what the issue is and to set some context the next slide really identifies the emissions profile from our transportation related emissions. As part of our climate change action plan, we do track our greenhouse gas inventory from our own corporate emissions, so emissions from our buses, our fleets, our buildings, as well as, in the community at large. On the one side, you'll see from our corporate emissions, almost 70 percent of the emissions come from our transit system and that's looking at our diesel buses. We have close to 500

buses and I think we heard identifying what the problem is and where the solution is, is definitely to decarbonize our transit our transit buses. From the community side, transportation makes up the second largest sector, buildings account for just over 50 percent, and transportation is 33, so we recognize the magnitude of this decarbonization pathway. The next slide is really to recognize that overall, I work in the environment section, but we have a whole transportation team, as well as, our transit team, and we recognize Professor Miller talked about the sustainability mode share hierarchy and the City of Mississauga is mode share Target for 2041 is looking at 50 of the trips to, from, and inside Mississauga are taken through sustainable modes and that would be walking, biking, taking transit, or or car sharing. I think the focus of today's conversation is really about looking at decarbonizing the vehicles themselves, so from public transit, as well as, from vehicles. On the next slide,

just wanted to show the complexity of how the City of Mississauga is addressing the issue around transportation and we have many policies; our official plans, master plans and sub-plans and policies that guide the work. In the next slide is really just some context setting around some of the planning and and we are guided unlike private corporations. We're guided by many different plans and all of those plans identify specific actions that we can take to improve and solve some of our climate crisis. Just a couple of examples in the active transportation space, we have a Transportation Master Plan (MP) and some of the sub-plans supporting that Cycling Master Plan. The Pedestrian MP. In 2021, the City of

Mississauga was one of the first municipalities to allow and pass a bylaw that allowed for electric scooters to be on roadways and we've also included it as part of the parking bylaw. A percentage requirement for parking to be the electrical vehicle (EV) charger ready. Some of the other master plans are really looking at overarching climate change from buildings, transportation, and others, we've identified a need to really engage the public in our businesses and we've developed a PL0 mission vehicle strategy to help with that transformation. We've had a transportation system largely gone untouched in the last 100 years and as Steven talked about, we need to accelerate the action and make the transformation happen within a very short period of time. We've also developed a Corporate Green Fleet and Equipment policy which is a decision-making policy allowing us to where possible and where feasible to replace our diesel or fuel vehicles and equipment to electrification and then, the final body of work is really related to our our transit work and that team has undertaken and worked with a variety of different stakeholders to try to get a pilot project for hydrogen off the ground, a 10 bus pilot. We've also

conducted an electrification study to look at you know the capacity and whether or not we are able, it's already been alluded to electrification of all things is really critical, but how do we manage that with the current electricity grid and also making sure that the grid remains clean. On the next slide, I'll maybe just touch upon some of our highlights and some of the successes and recognizing this whole system approach to transportation and making sure that we have the necessary infrastructure to allow our residents to be able to make the right choices. In the last several years, we've introduced and built 38 kilometres of new cycling infrastructure and that would include multi-use trails, as well as, dedicated bike lanes. Another part of the electrification that people don't often think about is our ice resurfacers and of the fleet of 22 ice resurfacers, we've already replaced them with 10 electric zambonis and two more are going to be on online. We've been really active and had great success in electrification of our light duty fleet vehicles. We've also installed

22 public chargers and over 70 electric vehicle chargers to meet our current fleet and we'll continue to add additional chargers throughout the City and also recognizing you know the transformation and some of the federal commitments around banning the internal combustion engine for light-duty vehicles so, we will be looking to put in public chargers at you know destination park locations where we recognize people might be parking and staying for for quite some time. Then, looking at our our buses, we've already introduced 56 second generation hybrid buses we'll be rolling out an additional over 100 second generation buses and so by the end of this year we will have a 191 of those second generation buses on the streets. I already talked a little bit about looking at piloting our equipment, you know two-stroke engines for weed whackers, and a sit on lawn mowers. We're looking also on how we are trying to improve air quality as well. To sort of wrap up, I know that we still have another speaker. The next slide is really if you want more information about some of the current actions that we are taking. We've

just launched a new climate change website where we are tracking all of the progress of our climate change action plan and also some of our plans that we are hoping for resident comments on and stay tuned for that. We're also responding to some of this new science and our original Climate Change Action Plan that was approved by council in 2019 is based on that 2 percent degree celsius warming and and recognizing the IPCC suite of reports that have come out. Council has asked staff to re-examine those targets and identify the action pathways that we can take to get to our fair share of targets for 2030 and also Net Zero by 2050 to stabilize the atmosphere. With that, I'll pass it back to you Marianne.

Excellent, thank you very much. Our third speaker today is Professor Olivier Trescases. He is a professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and also the director of the University of Toronto Electric Vehicle Research Center. His expertise in the area of energy management, high frequency and high density power electronics, battery management systems, electric vehicles, and power integrated circuits. He is going to talk about the challenge and the opportunities of electrification for transport decarbonization. Thank you Marianne. Can you hear me?

Yes, we can. Okay, great! I'm director of the U of T Electric Vehicle Research Center and we focus on various aspects around EVs from energy management, storage, charging technologies, all the way down to the semiconductor. We have a team of multidisciplinary researchers from Electrical, Computer, Mechanical, and Aerospace engineering working together to solve some of these major challenges. Today, I want to play the role of a myth-buster and I've picked eight or nine key myths I think that apply to EVs and and try to debunk one at a time in limited time that I have. First, if

you look at the adoption of technologies fascinating to see over the last hundred years or how fast technologies have been have been adopted in the wider public and you see really an acceleration of that on that trend and EVS is no exception. You can see here, the adoption rates for EVS and we've actually hit you know 10 percent of new vehicle registrations are now EVS which I think is really a major milestone. The first myth is around operating electric vehicles in the winter and so you can see here the range of different EVs and there are a number of vehicles that actually have you know let's say five to ten percent range reduction even in the Canadian winter, so that's very promising. That really comes down to the core technology inside the vehicle on thermal management so, how to efficiently warm the batteries to get that performance.

The second one is that EVS can't drive long distances and a good friend of mine Kent Rothwell actually proves in the summer of 2021 you could drive all the way across the country from St John's to Victoria in an EV only with DC fast charging. I challenge anyone here to beat this record of four days and 20 hours in an EV. This would not be possible you know two three years prior. Another way to get around the limited range is a hybrid or multi-chemistry battery so actually combining different elements of batteries to get the both the long range, as well as, the high cycle life so for example you could have a commuter battery that you would use most of the time combined with a very high energy road trip battery. We see a number of companies working in this area.

Another myth is that the EV range is totally unpredictable and I would say that while it is highly variable, it is not unpredictable so, this is a telematics data that we gathered in Saskatoon over a full year of an electric bus as part of an e-bus trial. From minus 40 degrees to plus 40 degrees. Probably one of the widest temperature ranges in the world for a transit vehicle and you can see a huge variation in the energy consumption of course in the winter because of the cabin heating, in the summer because of the air conditioning. To get around that actually today we have technologies around digital twin where we can very accurately predict the energy consumption for any arbitrary drive cycle profile or weather condition or topography. That has been a result more or less. Another myth is that EVs can't charge quickly so, we do a lot of work with Porsche Canada and here's an example of one of the world's fastest charging EVS in North York. We can deliver 270

kilowatts through a liquid cooled cable and get from five to eighty percent in 22 minutes. We're really approaching the charging times or the let's say refuelling times of conventional vehicles. The challenge of course is that this kind of charging performance is only really available over a very limited set of conditions and we're working on improving it. Another myth is that EVS are actually worse for the environment than combustion vehicles and you hear this all the time and there are a number of reports that debunk this and this is one of them. They show that lifecycle GHG emissions for today's EVS versus conventional vehicles versus cars that are going to be available in about 10 years. You can

see that even if you consider the additional emissions that result from manufacturing the battery, you have roughly a factor of two to three improvement in going to EVs. The advantage depends on the jurisdiction and the extent to which your power grid is carbon free and EVs in China have a lot a much higher associated GHG emissions than in North America. Around the same myth, we have this you know really unique opportunities to redeploy batteries in stationary applications to support integration of renewables so, here's an example where 150 Nissan Leaf packs were deployed as stationary batteries in Amsterdam stadium and beyond that, we can do direct recycling and we can extract some of the raw materials and basically, remanufacture batteries to further improve GHG emissions. Another myth is that EVs will crash the grid. You hear this all the time. In fact,

if we were to electrify every passenger EV in Canada, we would need about 15 percent more electricity. It is not as high as you might expect. On top of that, we have these new technologies like vehicle to grid which use the EV as a bi-directional energy source and if you look at here the daily electricity demand in Ontario, you see this of course cyclical pattern and we can use EVS to help with the periods of high demand so, we can charge at night at 2.4 cents a kilowatt hour and then we can send that energy potentially back into the grid when there is a very high demand. If you've looked at the weather forecast you can see why the next couple of days are expected to have a higher demand.

Finally, we hear that EV batteries won't last because we think of lithium batteries in EVs be very similar to our cell phones and you can see here for instance with Tesla where there's a huge amount of data available and you're looking at about 10 percent degradation at 240,000 kilometres so, it's really not degrading to the extent that you know we may have expected and this is a result of very careful thermal management, battery management, and battery design. If you have an air cooled battery like in the Nissan Leaf, then the numbers are far worse, but your vehicle is a lot cheaper. The final myth is that EVs are too expensive and I think it's a very complicated cost analysis of course because of the capital cost versus the running cost, but just this last quarter fantastic news that for the first time ever an EV is the world's best-selling car period without any other disclaimers and that is the Tesla Model Y. You can see the dramatic price drops that we've seen recently you know forty thousand dollar car is was unheard of even five six years ago for a modern EV. It's looking very very promising. We heard from Steve, the the major steps we have to take and as these myths get debunked, but one by one I think we're really headed in the in the right trajectory here.

Thank you very much. Excellent thank you Olivia, thank you very much. I invite everyone to start putting in your questions into the chat and as the questions come in, maybe I'll start with a question of my own to all of the panelists. Steve you started with what really struck me is that curve, the climb in CO2 emissions right and how long it took for this climb to occur and where we are now. We've been talking about climate change for decades, but GHG emissions so far with the data that we have, there's no indication that we are decreasing at all in no sector, right nowhere. But then, you also illustrate how fast we need to get down right to try and not hit these temperature targets and so that brings the question I think in a lot of you know policy circle where talk about the question of urgency. We have this climate

urgency we need to act fast, but by acting fast and Olivier here is presenting to us. You've got this technology, electrification which if you are operating in a grid like the Ontario electricity grid, right with low carbon intensity does provide really fast and quick reduction in GHG emissions. But, Dianne you're also talking about these other investments, right these longer term investments in infrastructure and I think Steve you've alluded to that and so, maybe the question overall is for all of you.

How do you view us sort of balancing those stresses between the urgency and the need to act fast, but also by acting fast, we may not have the time to make sure that whatever we're rolling out is you know is equitable, is societally acceptable, and that etc? And then, maybe we'll go in the order that you've presented Steve, Dianne, and then, Olivier. That's a hard question. I mean I'd like to say that there's no doubt we'll reach Net Zero. The only

question is how how long it will take and how quickly we can manage this transition and as Olivier has pointed out the technology is changing really rapidly. The improvement in battery technology over the past couple of decades has been dramatic so, we have we have weapons at our disposal. In fact, most of the climate policy folks I speak to say there's no doubt the technology is there to achieve this, it's really a political question it's a question of how quickly can we make these investments, how quickly can we build out this new infrastructure. The good news is the technology is ready and it's getting better every day. There will be mistakes made, you said if we go too fast does that mean we get it wrong.

Yes. I mean there's huge concerns around almost every aspect of the of this transition from you know arguments over where you cite wind turbines through to really difficult questions around the mining of the minerals needed for all of this. There's no right way to do this. I'm not sure I've got a good answer to your question. That was a hard question. Maybe I can build on that and I think you're right Steve.

By large, a lot of the technology already exists you know they're I think for municipalities when we think about the pace in which we need to take action. There are two risks that I see that we face, one is time and one is funding. I think that you know recognizing that, it's going to take a collective effort of all the different levels of government. I agree we need political leadership we need to take some of the large risks you know and I'm reflecting also on some of the conversations that we have around transforming our bus fleet. Is this the

beta versus the the VHS, right? Is it hydrogen, is it battery electric and to be fair I think there's room for both and I think that's how we minimize some of the risks associated with that. I think that as municipalities, we have a role to play in starting and triggering and creating new markets. With respect to hydrogen, I think that is the space where you know I think by large, we heard from Olivier that you know the improvements, the technological improvements in battery performance of EV Vehicles. I'm

an EV driver, I've had mine for six years and my range is 200 kilometres and of course now the ranges are much larger, but I think that technology is certainly advancing, but I think that you know we need to be able to create new markets and be part of that market solution. When I think of hydrogen, I believe is going to be a key player in the goods movement sector so, heavy duty vehicles, buses included in that. I think that's where you start to minimize the risks with having different kinds of fuels for your vehicles and I think there's probably many other questions. I think I'll pause

there and say we have to lean into these technologies and we have to send the market signals to say yes we're we want to be in this space and municipalities can't pay for it all, but the City of Mississauga is happy to to put our foot forward. Thanks Dianne. Olivier I'm gonna let you answer. I'm gonna throw in another question also that's very specific to you. The question to you is the pace of electrification, right. Can we

do it right and do it fast? There's also another question regarding you know whether it's reasonable to question the sheer size of EVs being rolled out you know Teslas, the Hummers, the re-emergence of you know those technologies that cater to the you know the consumer choices, rather thinking also about downsizing, light weighting our fleet and going small. Maybe you can address both of these at the same time. I mean I'll start with the first question and I was actually talking to my stepfather about this over the weekend so, he he's retired now, but he was instrumental in the work behind the Montreal protocol. For those of you

who may remember that is seen as one of the most successful blueprints of a global agreement to ban a harmful substance in this case it was ozone depleting substances you know when I was growing up it was all about the ozone we're all going to die of skin cancer because of this hole in the ozone and you know. He had two words, he said easy first he said that's what I learned in going around the world and trying to you know convince companies to drop these products. He said low hanging fruit. Sometimes, it sounds intuitive, but it's not a philosophy that's that's followed and I think it applies here as well. If the goal really is

to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with a minimum time and the minimum public dollar spent then, really focus on that almost in an obsessive way. I see in many cases this gets confused with equity and it's difficult right. If your municipalities, they'll say well you know we're going to focus on deploying chargers in dense urban areas where there is no parking, where there's no access to electricity, and it's looking at the dollar spent per ton of GHG saved. It just doesn't necessarily pan out.

On your second point, I think it's it's a great argument I mean green washing is a terrible thing right it's very counterproductive and the re-emergence of electric Hummers and it is really tragic in my opinion. I think there should be some some heavy government policies to penalize that kind of activity right so, any kind of incentives on EVs should consider the curb weight of the vehicles and maybe the battery size and weight. I think Dianne did an excellent job in highlighting that we can't lose sight of this hierarchy of transportation that really ypersonal passenger vehicles are at the very bottom and we should focus on transit, cycling, ride sharing, but at the end of the day you know we are a country with relatively low density. We can't forget

you know many people don't have these options all around the country and they will rely on EVs or on these personal vehicles and there has to be a good solution. Thank you for that. Another question is related to you know the minerals required to support electrification and the question is how worried should we be about you know minerals required to electrify and and I'll open at that eeven further to the question of well these critical minerals are coming from not necessarily are coming from a globally present, right. Is our notion of decarbonization in Canada, does that conflict ability elsewhere where we are using these resources to electrify and decarbonize our own cities our own urban areas? Any thoughts around that. Maybe, we'll go around same order yeah and it's one of the downsides of talking about decarbonization because although in many ways decarbonization is the goal when we look at climate change as in the charts that I showed as a problem of carbon dioxide, it's not the only goal around sustainability. If you look at the

the SDGs, the Sustainability Development goals, they cover a huge range of things, way beyond climate change and decarbonization and there's this irony that if we attempt to solve climate change without changing anything else, we won't make any progress in all of those other sustainability goals particularly the social goals around areas of the world where these minerals are mined and areas of the world where all our waste goes to get sorted and disposed of. That's not to say there's an easy answer to this, but it's one of those things where you can't just focus on one piece of the problem and say if we just optimize for this variable, in this case carbon, will have achieved what we want to achieve. It's a multifaceted problem that we have to be tackling all of those aspects at once.

Every time I think about this, the challenge is bigger than any of us thinks it is. You still seem quite hopeful Steven which is great. Yeah well how I always say hope is political act, no matter how bad the science tells us things are, if you're not hopeful, we're not gonna make progress on them. I agree and and to be fair to come back to your question Marianne, you know there isn't any environmentally benign ways to produce energy you know some are more renewable and less impactful than others. Moving away from

natural gas to renewable energy or from coal to renewable energy you know, the steel required for the wind turbines, the solar arrays also have implications around how to build that. Looking from a complete life cycle assessment, I mean I think you're right and maybe I'll bring it right back to Professor Miller at the beginning where he talked about you know that all of these decisions are sort of and wrapped into kind of the natural systems and where do we focus our attention, how do we address certain issues, and I think you know taking a life cycle value approach is really important as well. When we look at you know kind of all of the components that would go into a vehicle. I think from coming back to that hierarchy you know we really want to sort of come back to getting people out of vehicles in the right environments, right. I mean the City of Mississauga has certainly grown up over time we will be having an LRT, we've got a great transit system. We're building more infrastructure for cycling and walking creating complete communities, I think is really critical as well.

Those kinds of things do keep me up at night, but I too am hopeful that we can address every element of that life cycle. Thank you. Olivier. I mean it's a great question. In the particular case of EV batteries, the most problematic component would be the cobalt and in particular, to achieve the high energy density that we need to have the high range in EVS, there are different flavours of cobalt based batteries and there are a number of alternatives, lithium iron phosphate, for example.

That's what Tesla is using in their Shanghai giga-factory and you won't get necessarily the same range in the same volume, but there are gateway technologies, right. I think we need to accept that to make an omelette, we have to break a few eggs. I know it's not it's not always easy, but we're talking about existential problems here on a massive scale so, if we need to use some technologies to start getting some wins, to start bringing some emissions down, and then, buy some time to find alternative technologies that are less locally harmful, that's already happening. We see that with the transition from you know NMC to lithium ion phosphate batteries, for instance. I haven't researched this area, but I understand that the battery life beyond a vehicle has a fairly sizeable opportunity and left in it so, when you take it from a vehicle and maybe Olivier, you've done some research or some of your students have.

To look at you know you talked about the range, you're right. I haven't seen a decrease in in range from my vehicle and it's as I mentioned is six years old and then, there's a life for that EV battery beyond it's a useful life within a vehicle so, I don't know if you can speak to that. Sure, I mean I showed one slide on it. It's very important area of research so, second life application of batteries. It's a beautiful imagery where

you take the battery out of the vehicle and you repurpose it to effectively support the integration of renewables because now as a stationary battery, it can absorb the fluctuations in wind and solar and if anybody wants visit our lab, we have a Tesla Model S battery converted for exactly this purpose. Right. You can see a live demo of that and you can even see you know used EV batteries deployed to have fast charging of electric vehicles so, there's a whole ecosystem around that kind of technology. It's fascinating, thank you. We

have four minutes left. I'm gonna ask one last question and ask you to give me a very short answer and leave the floor to Judy to wrap up the session. Steve, you talked about political will, right and institutional frameworks and policy. To you,

when do you think what would be a signal that governments have taken this very seriously, not IPCC, local, provincial, or federal governments have actually taken this seriously? Yes, I think the signal is already there. I think the rapid adoption in the effectively in the last two years of everybody signing up to say Net Zero by 2050 is our plan. I mean there's a lot of work to do to implement that, but the adoption of that goal was blindingly fast certainly compared to the inaction over the last 30 to 40 years so, yeah I think the signal is there. Okay, Dianne. I agree, the council in 2019 did declare a climate emergency. I think that was a really strong signal. I think the rollout of our climate change action plan and the many actions within there.

I think you're seeing the transformation on the ground with the the number of new infrastructure just even the advent of or I wouldn't even say advent, but the number of electric scooters and electric bicycles on the roads as well. We're seeing this evolution today and continue on I think you know. I'm gonna interrupt you there. Thank you. No go ahead. Absolutely, I'll keep it very short. I mean for me

goals are important, but what convinces me that politicians are taking it seriously is what's happening on the ground and when they commit actual dollars. When I see billions of dollars towards battery plants or hundreds of millions of dollars of subsidies in public EV charging infrastructure, that's when I believe that they are convinced because they're putting their political capital on the line here and opening themselves up for very heavy criticism so, that means to me that taking it seriously when the when the dollars are being actually rolled out. Thank you. Thank you everyone.

It was my pleasure moderating this panel. Thank you for the three of you and Judy, whenever you're ready. Thanks very much and I'll just take a moment to say thank you. It was that a great and thoughtful discussion so thanks to our panelists, Dianne, Olivier, Steve, and Marianne for moderating. Thank you to all of you. Thank you for joining us and we hope to see you again this was a fifth in a series of six sessions exploring The Way Forward. We'll be back

in two weeks to talk about tackling our legendary congestion with ITS and transit and that will be it for our second season. Registration is open for this last session. You'll find it advertised on our website. You'll get reminders if you subscribe to our newsletter which you can also do on the website and you can always find out more by contacting us. Thank you very much for joining us and I hope the rest of your day is a really good one. Thank you.

2023-06-14 14:40

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