In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals (2010), a detailed strategic environmental assessment (SEA) was completed for the Science, Technology and Innovation (ST&I) Strategy announced on December 4, 2014.
An analysis of the Strategy found that some future investments under this framework will support research that may contribute positively to meeting the goals and targets under the 2013‐2016 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS). These include reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and air pollution, improved water quality, sustainable use of natural and biological resources, reduced waste, and the prevention and mitigation of environmental disasters.
Environmental science and technology is one research priority under the new Strategy that is expected to have an important, positive environmental effect, direct and indirect. Positive environmental results are also expected through S&T initiatives in the areas of natural resources, information and communications technology (ICT), and advanced manufacturing.
Specific research areas within these priorities include climate change research and technology, and bio‐energy, fuel cells and nuclear energy. Research in these areas may yield discoveries and applications to help address climate change through the reduction of GHG emissions. This would support the FSDS Goal 1—to mitigate the effects of climate change, reduce GHG emission levels and adapt to unavoidable impacts.
The area of focus on advancing research and innovation related to water has the potential to have a positive impact on advancing progress of the FSDS Goal 3—protect and enhance water so that it is clean, safe and secure for all Canadians and supports healthy ecosystems.
The area of focus on pipeline safety and disaster mitigation can advance progress on protecting Canadians which is part of FSDS Goal 4—conserving and restoring ecosystems, wildlife and habitat.
The Strategy also has an area of focus on responsible resource development, aquaculture and biotechnology, all aspects that aim to conserve and restore ecosystems which support progress in achieving FSDS Goal 5—biological resources: efficient economic and ecological use of resources.
Under the research priority of advanced manufacturing, light‐weighting could involve discoveries and applications that support reduction of the use of natural resources and reduction of waste, that has positive outcomes for FSDS Goal 1 and the reduction of GHG emissions (light‐weighted vehicles, for example, use less fuel thus there would be fewer GHG emissions and less pollution) and supports progress towards FSDS Goal 5—biological resources.
Under the priority of ICT, research in the areas of communications networks and services, and advanced data management and analysis, potentially have positive impacts on the environment. These technologies are often an enabler of positive environmental outcomes such as the development of smart grids for energy conservation and reduced GHG emissions.
Environmental sustainability remains an important aspect of the ST&I Strategy, and will help advance the environmental sustainability goals and targets of the 2013‐2016 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy.