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Creating a Low Carbon Future

Canada will continue to produce and use oil for some time, but building an economy based on tar sands oil means missing the boat on the enormous employment and economic opportunities created by the inexorable global transition towards renewable energy. In fact, investment in renewable energy now outpaces investment in fossil fuel infrastructure, and employment opportunities in the renewable energy sector is set to grow substantially in the years ahead. A low carbon future is on the horizon, and Canada needs to abandon the tar sands so it won't be left behind.

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Over the past eight years, and despite a global economic collapse and subsequent challenges in the world’s major economies, the renewable energy sector experienced solid growth. According to recent estimates, the renewable energy sector employs five million people worldwide, and is predicted to grow rapidly as the world transitions to clean sources of energy.

At the same time, the warning signs that we need to get serious about tackling global warming have never been clearer. Thousands of heat records were broken across the continent this year, and Arctic sea ice was almost 700,000 square kilometres smaller than ever before, a loss equivalent to the size of Texas.

The oil industry’s plan to dramatically increase oil production will lead Canada in the wrong direction if we want to reduce climate-changing pollution, ensure a healthy planet for our children, and take advantage of the financial benefits of the renewable energy sector that will inevitably replace the oil industry as the economic engine of our society. Indeed, investing in energy efficiency, renewable energy and public transit not only reduces pollution, it creates six to eight times more jobs than comparable investments in fossil fuels.

We know that Canadians care deeply about both the environment and the economy. The oil industry’s plans to ramp up tar sands production to over five million barrels per day are not in the best interest of Canadians, economically or environmentally. It's time to invest in a clean energy economy and a low carbon future.

Creating a Low Carbon Future Updates & Resources

Oil may be ailing, but clean energy is soaring

Dan Woynillowicz | Clean Energy Canada - January 30th 2015

Blog Post: In the 21st century, an energy strategy narrowly focused on exploiting and exporting fossil fuels is short-sighted, if not downright irresponsible — both environmentally and economically. At its heart, a modern and durable energy strategy must cut carbon pollution and promote clean energy. It must facilitate the delivery of clean energy to Canadians, spur innovation, and capitalize upon the opportunity to provide clean energy technology and services to a global economy that is clamouring for solutions.

What ‘Selma’ can teach the Canadian climate movement

Cam Fenton | 350.org - January 30th 2015

Blog Post: The movie “Selma" was released earlier this month to widespread critical acclaim. While the film is beautifully made and relatively true to the history it is based on, there’s another achievement that most people overlook in the film. Telling the story of the 1965 Voting Rights Marches from Selma to Montgomery, the storyline of Selma is steeped in lessons in organizing and movement strategy, including some big ones for people across Canada planning to stop tar sands pipelines and restore some level of climate sanity in our government.

Federal role is essential for effective climate action

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Tim Gray | Environmental Defence - January 29th 2015

Blog Post: Government action addressing climate change is evolving quickly at the provincial level but that does not absolve the federal government of its responsibility to set a level playing field and spur action. It would have been great had the federal government implemented a pan-Canadian climate change plan eight years ago — when it promised to. Or better yet 13 years ago, when the Canadian government ratified the Kyoto Protocol. But it’s not too late for the federal government to act, especially given the big advantages to doing so: fairness and effectiveness.

We can solve climate change, but it won’t be cheap or easy

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David Roberts | Grist - January 27th 2015

Press Clipping: David Roberts tells it like it is: "When we talk about transitioning our society to renewable energy, these "decarbonization scenarios" are often presented as thought experiments, not practical roadmaps. But we are past the time when thought experiments are enough. We need to start thinking in practical terms about how to get the technologies we need ready. What's more, we need serious, realistic thinking about the social and political buy-in necessary to drive this wholesale energy transformation."

If you think about it, that’s how we got a country ...

John Bennett | Sierra Club Canada - January 27th 2015

Press Clipping: If you have heard anything about the Canada’s Premiers meeting in Ottawa on January 30, you probably know the Prime Minister is not attending. So--like the media--you are not paying much attention to it. That’s unfortunate because it just might be the biggest climate change meeting ever in Canada. Or maybe it’s a good thing that the Prime Denier stays home. We’ll see.

Seize the day

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January 26th 2015

Blog Post: According to The Economist, the fall in the price of oil and gas provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix bad energy policies. Politicians can get rid of billions of dollars of distorting subsidies, especially for dirty fuels, whilst shifting taxes towards carbon use. A cheaper, greener and more reliable energy future could be within reach.

Americans don’t want Congress to make the air dirtier

Rhea Suh, President | NRDC - January 23rd 2015

Blog Post: As President Obama moves forward with the climate action he laid out in his State of the Union Address, he has strong winds of public support behind him. New polling released Thursday shows that the vast majority of Americans favor reducing dangerous pollution and protecting our air and water. This doesn't surprise me at all. I have a young daughter, and like all parents, I want her to thrive. I want her to play outside without fear of breathing dirty air and to drink water from the tap without concern about toxic chemicals.

Canadians are ready for carbon pricing, politicians not so much

Carrie Saxifrage | Vancouver Observer - January 20th 2015

Press Clipping: A majority of Canadians know they are part of the problem and want to be part of the solution. In the international arena, an ever-increasing number of nations are pricing carbon, including China, the European Union and South Korea. Environics polling shows that 56% of Canadians would support a BC-type carbon price in their province. The support is strongest in Ontario and Quebec, which are considering similar measures. Unlike the US, in Canada the support crosses party lines: 45% of Conservatives would support a carbon tax.