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

Inaction on climate change is mutually assured destruction

John Cartwright | President of Toronto & York Region Labour Council, representing 200k union members - June 18th 2015

Blog Post: In July, Toronto will host a Pan-American Climate Summit and an Economic Summit, where politicians like Stephen Harper will join corporate leaders to push an austerity agenda that increases inequality while ignoring the pressing environmental crisis. On the eve of those summits, I will be joining many others in the streets of Toronto to demand a justice-based transition to a new energy economy. I hope you'll join us as well.

Jane Fonda takes on ‘big oil’ in Vancouver: ‘Arrest me, I don’t care’

Feature

June 16th 2015

Press Clipping: Actress and activist Jane Fonda is adding her star power to the anti-oilsands pipeline movement in B.C. The star of Netflix comedy series Grace and Frankie is in Vancouver for Greenpeace's Toast the Coast event on Saturday, celebrating Canada's coastline and raising awareness of the environmental issues surrounding oil drilling and pipelines. She spoke to The Early Edition host Rick Cluff about why she's fighting the oilsands, the legacy she wants to leave her grandchildren and how older actors may finally be winning out in Hollywood.

Will Pope’s much-anticipated encyclical be a clarion call on climate change?

Feature

Sylvia Poggioli | NPR - June 16th 2015

Press Clipping: On Thursday, the Vatican will release the pontiff's hotly anticipated encyclical on the environment and poverty. The rollout of the teaching document has been timed to have maximum impact ahead of the U.N. climate change conference in December aimed at slowing global warming. Mary Evelyn Tucker, professor of religion and ecology at Yale University, believes the papal document will stress not just sustainability, but development centered on human beings and on justice. "Not development that allows the poor to sink and the rich to rise, so this is a new integration called eco-justice."

Global warming: It’s the economy, stupid

Editorial Board | Globe and Mail - June 16th 2015

Press Clipping: We take the conclusions of climate science as a given. The scientific consensus means that political action to address it is inevitable. Something big is going to have to be done, eventually, and many small steps are already being taken. That means the most pressing question isn’t whether to cut back on emissions. Guess what economics says is the most efficient way to lower the consumption of anything? Raise the price of it – and let the market, millions of people and businesses, each individually figure out how to save money by reducing their use of this newly expensive thing, while also stimulating researchers and entrepreneurs into developing alternatives.

Why more scientists are speaking out on contentious issues

Feature

Lindsey Konkel | National Geographic - June 12th 2015

Press Clipping: The declaration by a diverse group of ecologists, economists, climate researchers, and other academics calling for a moratorium on tar sands development is the most recent example of a tidal shift at universities across North America. Many North American scientists are increasingly leveraging their knowledge to speak out in environmental debates, particularly climate change. Says ecologist Ken Lertzman, “The idea of using science to make a difference in the world is becoming pretty pervasive and accepted."

One devastating chart shows how Stephen Harper’s done diddly squat developing green technologies

June 11th 2015

Blog Post: While Stephen Harper champions the importance of creating “lower carbon-emitting sources of energy” to combat climate change, a new report found that Canada does almost nothing to stimulate new low-carbon energy sources. Between 2005 and 2013, Canada’s share of the global market for renewable energy and environmental goods has fallen -- yes, fallen -- by a whopping 41%.

Here’s what it would take for the US to run on 100% renewable energy

Feature

David Roberts | Vox.com - June 11th 2015

Press Clipping: It is technically and economically feasible to run the US economy entirely on renewable energy, and to do so by 2050. That is the conclusion of a new study in the journal Energy & Environmental Science, authored by Stanford scholar Mark Z. Jacobson and nine colleagues. His team's new paper contains 50 such road maps, one for every state, with detailed modeling on how to get to a US energy system entirely powered by wind, water, and solar (WWS). That means no oil and coal. It also means no natural gas, no nuclear power, no carbon capture and sequestration, and no biofuels.

Jobs, justice, climate: A new climate movement is rising from below

Naomi Klein | Council of Canadians - June 8th 2015

Blog Post: We're coming together in Toronto on July 5 for a march for jobs, justice, and climate action. What you're seeing are the first steps towards a new kind of climate movement. It's a climate movement that recognizes that time is too short to allow our divisions to keep us from building the kind of coalitions that will safeguard life on earth. We're ready for the next economy. And we know the leadership isn't going to come from the political class, so it's going to have to come from below.