Tar Sands Solutions Network

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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

Rejecting fear and fighting for a safe climate

Cameron Fenton | 350.org Canada - February 23rd 2015

Blog Post: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police leaked a report targeting the activities of what they call the "anti-petroleum movement" of "peaceful activists, militants and violent extremists who are opposed to society's reliance on fossil fuels." The report came just weeks after it came to light that FBI agents were investigating American anti-tar sands activists, visiting them at their homes and places of work. If nothing else, these attempts to polarize opposition prove one thing -- that governments are paying attention to the growing movement for climate justice.

Encyclopedia of the oil crash: C is for carbon (putting a price on)

Jason Kirby | Maclean's - February 19th 2015

Press Clipping: In the final days of the fall sitting of the House of Commons, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said it would be crazy to impose additional costs on Canada’s oil and gas sector in a time of low prices if the U.S. was not enacting similar carbon emission policies. But most carbon policies (carbon taxes or cap-and-trade programs) that have been discussed for the oil sands would have added 50 cents per barrel to the average cost of production over the life of a project, so it’s unlikely this would make a substantial difference to the outlook for the oil sands.

How to sell a carbon tax to Canadians


Margo McDiarmid | CBC News - February 19th 2015

Press Clipping: If you want to bring in carbon tax that actually works, the folks at Clean Energy Canada have some helpful tips for you. Clean Energy Canada, a think-tank that focuses on clean renewable energy, conducted interviews with 13 people involved in crafting British Columbia's carbon tax in 2008. "We wanted to get a look behind the curtain and find out how do you do something like this," said Clare Demerse, the author of the report that came out of those studies.

Talking like grownups about climate change

Cass R. Sunstein | Bloomberg - February 11th 2015

Press Clipping: Are Americans worried about climate change? Do they want their government to regulate greenhouse gases? A recent survey -- from Stanford University, the New York Times and Resources for the Future -- found that strong majorities say “yes” to both questions.But a strong majority also say that they oppose increasing taxes on either gasoline or electricity in order to reduce climate change. How can most Americans be unwilling to pay to reduce a problem that they believe (as they indicated in the recent poll) will damage them personally?

How environmental activists turned a pipeline into a climate movement

Naureen Khan | Aljazeera America - February 10th 2015

Press Clipping: The Keystone XL pipeline has prompted thousands of protests in cities across the country, provoked a fierce political debate in Washington, sparked heated legal battles and galvanized a broad coalition of environmental activists in a way that few other issues have in the last generation. Both critics and supporters of the efforts to halt the pipeline say that Keystone’s significance lies beyond the 1,200 miles of steel that would cut into the heart of the country if approved.

Most Republicans say they back climate action, poll finds

Coral Davenport and Marjorie Connelly - February 1st 2015

Press Clipping: An overwhelming majority of the American public, including half of Republicans, support government action to curb global warming, according to a poll conducted by The New York Times, Stanford University and the nonpartisan environmental research group Resources for the Future. In a finding that could have implications for the 2016 presidential campaign, the poll also found that two-thirds of Americans said they were more likely to vote for political candidates who campaign on fighting climate change.

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.