Over the years, the Helios Centre has realized a number of studies and projects addressing climate change. In addition to the specific projects mentioned here, most of the Helios Centre’s work is focussed on thinking through the low-carbon electricity transition, in all of its aspects.
In the mid 2000s the Helios Centre, led by Helena Olivas, realized several studies in relation to the Kyoto Protocol, including a guide to the institutional requirements of the Clean Development Mechanism, for developing countries, and a guide to the COP/MOP process, which was published in three languages.
Restructured Rivers, a book-length study prepared by Philip Raphals at the request of the International Rivers Network, explored many aspects of hydropower and its interface with competitive markets, including in a review of the science regarding GHG emissions from reservoirs.
More recently, in collaboration with Rick Hendriks, the Centre produced a contribution to the Acting on Climate Change project, led by Dr. Catherine Potvin of McGill University, which argued for caution to ensure that the goal of a 100% carbon-free electric system does not produce unacceptable consequences in other dimensions. In Canada, the strategies proposed are often based on a huge build-out of large-scale hydropower, with unacceptable consquences.
This would constitute a high-cost path in economic, ecological, and social terms, initiating and perpetuating conflicts with Aboriginal peoples, while driving out investment in other low-carbon renewables that are modular, incremental and declining in cost. Canadian ratepayers would find themselves unable to take advantage of these increasingly affordable alternatives, being locked into paying down the high-cost capital legacy of large-scale hydroelectric projects.