But why change? Well, the world's current system of energy production and consumption is problematic for a few key reasons.
Increased amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses from burning fossil fuels for energy fuel not just our lives, but also climate change. As a result, the global average temperature has increased by 0.76 degrees Celsius since 1850. The period of 1995-2006 saw 11 out of 12 of the warmest years since humans started recording temperatures back in 1850.
As the climate patterns shift, so too does typical weather, rainfall, sea levels, ocean acidification levels, Arctic glaciers, extreme weather events, animal habitats, and species population levels. These changes disrupt nature's fragile balance. The effects of climate change are having numerous negative consequences for human communities, especially impoverished people.
As a result, citizens, businesses, governments, and non-profit groups worldwide are calling for and working towards reductions in CO2 emissions to halt further change. A key part of this effort is re-examining our sources of energy.
Emissions from industry and motor vehicles release smog, ozone, particles, nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides into our environment. All of these can severely affect human health as well as the health of ecosystems. Reducing air pollution will help us all breathe easier.
The world's energy-intensive lifestyles strains global energy supplies and power generation capacity. Because we need energy for a thriving economy, yet don't produce enough on our own, our societies are vulnerable. Geo-political instability in energy producing countries, competition over energy sources, attacks on infrastructure, and natural disasters all increase this vulnerability. More home-grown electricity helps to reduce a country's reliance and thus vulnerability.
As the global population rises, and more and more people live energy-intensive lifestyles, we need increasing amounts of energy to fuel our lives. We need to innovate to find new ways to meet this growing demand.
New innovations in technology can help spur economic development and job growth for Canadian communities.
These realities are driving the development of new technologies and ideas. Future energy systems will be cleaner, more efficient, and more reliable. Hydrogen and fuel cell systems can help meet the challenges ahead.