Many people understand that EVs can fulfill their driving requirements. But there still are concerns over the environmental and social justice implications of ditching their internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle for an EV.

“Are EVs Bad?” delved into the environmental and social justice implications of electric vehicles. It used the ‘lens’ of a new University of Guelph study Benefits and Barriers to Electric Vehicle Adoption in the City of Guelph.

eMERGE hosted Paul Gipe, a renewable energy analyst from California along with Karen Nelson and Patricia Butt from the University of Guelph to explore these issues. The study highlighted that many early environmental adopters still have concerns about environmental and social justice implications to make the move to an EV.

While social justice concerns remain, eMERGE took the opportunity to introduce a campaign spearheaded by Amnesty International: Powering Change Principles for Businesses and Governments in the Battery Value Chain

According to the Amnesty International Organization, One role of Government is to ensure a Rapid Transition to 100% Renewable Energy Grid while requiring Businesses to Respect Human Rights and the Environment.

Check out the recording below!

A recording of the webinar can be found on our YouTube Channel here!

The slide deck for this webinar is now available here.


About our Speakers

Paul Gipe | Renewable Energy Analyst, Wind Works

Even as an American living in southern California Paul Gipe has had a profound impact on our lives in Ontario. He was one of the architects behind Ontario’s Feed-in-Tariffs (FIT) and the Green Energy and Economy Act (GEAA). Implemented in 2009, this law quickly accelerated the development of wind and solar projects throughout the province while precipitating a significant drop in the cost of these systems. The GEAA ultimately had an impact on renewable energy implementation throughout North America. While the Act was later repealed by the current government, the positive impact that it has had on changing the way we produce, distribute and use energy has overwhelmingly altered our energy system.

Paul has written extensively about these issues for the past four decades. His most recent book, Wind Energy for the Rest of Us, is his seventh book on wind energy. In 2011 he was asked to test drive GM’s new Chevy Volt through the wind farms of the Tehachapi Pass in California. He has been writing, researching and speaking about electric vehicles ever since. Gipe has explored Southern California in a limited-range Nissan Leaf, a range-extended Chevy Volt, and a Chevy Bolt. He’s currently on his second Bolt, a 2020 model with over 400 km range.

His Frequently Asked Questions about Electric Vehicles now has some 60 entries. Paul Gipe is an author, advocate, and analyst on renewable energy and electric vehicles.


Karen Nelson | Research Shop Coordinator, University of Guelph

Karen is the Research Shop Coordinator at the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute (CESI) at the University of Guelph. She trains and manages graduate students engaged in community engaged research projects with local community partners. Over the past 13 years, Karen has worked in both academic and community settings on research related to community health, housing, economic and rural development, and social services.


Patricia Butt | Research Assistant, University of Guelph

Patricia is a MSc student in the Rural Planning and Development program in the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development at the University of Guelph. She has worked with the Research Shop at the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute (CESI) as a Research Assistant since September 2019. Patricia is inspired by transdisciplinary collaboration and particularly interested in community engaged, participatory approaches to research. She is dedicated to contributing to knowledge mobilization and the development of more just, sustainable communities through the various projects she is involved with, both on and off campus.




The sponsors of this event:

The University of Guelph Community Engaged Scholarship Institute (CESI) brings together community and campus skills and resources in order to advance community-identified research goals. They work in collaboration, honour diverse forms of knowledge, and leverage university resources for community benefit.


About eMERGE

eMERGE fights climate change to build a healthier society. It does this by helping people reduce energy and water use.

Promoting smart behavior, policy and improved efficiency helps Guelph build a road map to achieve 100% renewable energy long before 2050. This has the added benefit of a healthier community and a more resilient local economy.