New Positive Energy study explores lessons from Just Transition Task Force for depolarizing energy and climate policy

Posted on Tuesday, September 29, 2020

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The University of Ottawa’s Positive Energy program today released a new report that explores the work of Canada’s Just Transition Task Force. In 2018, the Task Force met with communities and stakeholders across Canada that would be affected by the federal government’s phase out of coal-fired electricity. The report, written by Positive Energy researchers Brendan Frank and Sébastien Girard Lindsay, identifies aspects of the Task Force’s work that could help to depolarize Canada’s energy and climate dialogue.

The Task Force was commissioned to hear the concerns of coal communities and address them with policy recommendations. The study identifies key aspects of the Task Force’s work that may have increased or decreased the risk of polarization. Most important to reducing the risk of polarization is a neutral consultation process that avoided any perceptions of bias or partisanship.

The new report is now available on the Positive Energy’s website. It is the second of four case studies that examine initiatives to address polarization over energy and climate issues in Canada. Positive Energy will release additional case studies in the coming months.



“The work of the Just Transition Task Force was groundbreaking and is full of helpful lessons for policymakers. As they chart Canada’s energy future in an age of climate change, securing the trust of affected communities is vital.” – Brendan Frank, Interim Research Director and Senior Research Associate, Positive Energy, University of Ottawa

“The Just Transition Task Force showed that addressing climate change is not just a technocratic problem. It is a human problem as well. Failing to properly consider the human dimensions of lowering emissions increases the risk of polarization.” – Sébastien Girard Lindsay, Doctoral Candidate and Research Assistant, Positive Energy, University of Ottawa

“Debates over Canada’s energy and climate future can be polarizing. This case study shows how inclusive, nonpartisan and representative consultation processes can help to find common ground and reduce the risks of polarization.” – Professor Monica Gattinger, Chair, Positive Energy and Director, Institute for Science, Society and Policy, University of Ottawa.


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