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.
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.