heavy duty trucks in traffic among smog
Sixteen new climate change research projects are launching with nearly $10 million in funding, Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory Body (NZAB) announced.

The coast-to-coast roster of climate-conscious projects announced by Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory body is supported by $10 million from the federal Climate Action Awareness Fund, created with emissions lawsuit fines paid by Volkswagen

Sixteen new climate change research projects — including those with a transportation focus — are launching with nearly $10 million in funding, Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory Body (NZAB) announced.

The NZAB is an independent group of experts, created by the federal government in 2021. Their role is to identify pathways to net-zero by 2050. The primary mandate of the NZAB is to offer advice to the government. It also engages with the Canadian public to determine the most optimal and productive approaches to meet its objectives.

At least 25 per cent of the approved projects are to do with vehicle electrification, including medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

“These research projects will spark new conversations and insights on Canada’s pathways to net-zero,” says Marie-Pierre Ippersiel, Net-Zero Advisory Body co-chair in a press statement.

“The NZAB looks forward to learning from these research projects to inform our advice.”

Project criteria

The NZAB launched a call for proposals in spring 2022 to determine the research themes the projects should focus on.

The roughly $10 million in funding comes from the Environmental Damages Fund’s Climate Action and Awareness Fund, administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The Climate Action Awareness Fund was created largely using a $196.5-million fine paid by Volkswagen. The fine is restitution for violating Canada’s environmental protection rules.

The 16 projects selected are led by Canadian think tanks, academic institutions and other research groups.

They will address “sectoral knowledge gaps and crosscutting net-zero themes.” This includes looking at “regulatory solutions for the electrification of high-emitting sectors, green skills gaps for Canada’s net-zero economy and the use of hydrogen in the net-zero energy transition.”

The transportation-related projects come from Pembina Institute, Electric Mobility Canada, Governors of the University of Alberta and Simon Fraser University.

For the funding disbursal in general, the four main themes chosen to be eligible include:

  • Defining the future systems required for net zero;
  • Identifying obstacles on the pathways to net zero;
  • Analyzing the distributional impacts of net-zero pathways on workers, families; and
  • Communities and motivating net-zero action.

The industry-related projects

Pembina Institute, the Governors of the University of Alberta, Electric Mobility Canada and Simon Fraser University, are each receiving funding to carry out projects that reduce emissions in the transportation sector.

Pembina is exploring regulatory solutions, “to accelerate the electrification of buildings, transport and gas production.”

The Governors of the University of Alberta is using its funding to build a net-zero transition pathway for Canada’s heavy-duty (Class 8) trucks that takes into account provincial differences and says it will address key obstacles.

Electric Mobility Canada’s project title is Powering Up. It provides a national and sub-national outlook on the adoption of electric vehicles. This includes addressing barriers and analyzing the impacts of EVs on the grid.

Simon Fraser University’s project, On the Road to Net-Zero, aims to accelerate Canada’s adoption of zero-emission, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

A complete list of the projects can be found here.