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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

Report finds climate solutions exist in Canada

Editors | Tar Sands Solutions - December 11th 2014

Blog Post: Canada could meet its international climate change commitment by using readily available made-in-Canada solutions, a David Suzuki Foundation report concludes. "Building on the Best: Keeping Canada's climate promise" used analysis by Navius Research to examine the best climate change policies and solutions being used in Canada and how they can be applied at the federal level. "By adopting the strongest policies already in place in parts of the country, Canada could develop a unifying climate change strategy that would allow us to meet our international commitments and targets," said David Suzuki Foundation science and policy manager Ian Bruce.

Survey shows Canadians want action on climate change

Editors | Tar Sands Solutions - December 2nd 2014

Blog Post: As Canada's environment minister heads to the United Nations climate change summit this week, a survey on Canadians' views about climate change reveals an overwhelming majority (88 per cent) want Canada to commit to significant new actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Canadians express most concern (78 per cent) about what climate change will mean for their children and future generations. The survey also shows majority public support for a tax on carbon-based fuels across the country.

Clean energy jobs now exceed oilsands jobs in Canada

December 2nd 2014

Press Clipping: Which industry employs more Canadians? The oilsands or clean energy? Guess again. Employment in Canada's clean energy sector has jumped 37 per cent in the past five years, says a new report from the think tank Clean Energy Canada, and now exceeds employment in the oilsands. Those job gains were the result of about $25 billion in new investment over the past five years, the report said. It singled out Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia as the three provinces leading the way in clean energy investment.

Greening Sacred Spaces launches Solar Faith Initiative

December 2nd 2014

Blog Post: Thinking about retrofitting your church or other faith-community building? Greening Sacred Spaces (GSS) is here to help. The Solar Faith Initiative for faith communities is raising awareness about solar within congregations and provides step-by-step information about how to go solar. This includes a a solar self-assessment tool to help faith communities determine if they are "solar ready” and information on financing. There are also a few case studies to illustrate how others have done it.

Canada’s first concentrated solar thermal plant

David Dodge and Duncan Kinney | Green Energy Futures - November 24th 2014

Press Clipping: The Pembina Institute's excellent Green Energy Futures series profiled Medicine Hat's new 1 MW concentrated solar thermal power plant, which the city will bring into service in the coming year. While it won’t have its official ribbon cutting until June 21 of 2015, by the time you read this they should be generating power at the plant on a test basis.

The big climate deal: What it is, and what it isn’t

Bill McKibben | 350.org - November 14th 2014

Blog Post: Last night, just weeks after the largest climate mobilization ever, the world's two biggest polluters -- the United States and China -- announced their most ambitious climate action yet. That is not a coincidence: it's a sign that our pressure is working, and that we need to apply much more. Here's my take on what the just-announced plan from President Obama and Premier Xi is, and isn’t.

Pembina reacts to U.S.-China climate announcement

Chris Severson-Baker | Pembina Institute - November 14th 2014

Blog Post: “Canada has long justified its own failures to limit the growth of greenhouse gas emissions by pointing to the inaction of the U.S. and China, but that excuse does not stand up to scrutiny,” Chris Severson-Baker, managing director of the Pembina Institute, said in response to the U.S.-China joint announcement on climate change. “The U.S. is likely to meet its 2020 emissions reduction target, and is now committing to reduce emissions even further by 2025. Canada, meanwhile, is on track to miss the same 2020 target by 20 per cent."

Scotland produces enough wind energy to power all its homes


Loz Blaine | gizmag - November 11th 2014

Press Clipping: Scotland is pushing ahead with green energy, with First Minister Alex Salmond claiming that renewables could provide 100 percent of Scotland's energy by 2025. And last month, Salmond's push for wind farms appears to have borne fruit – wind power alone generated some 126 percent of the energy needed to power every home in Scotland in what the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) is calling a "bumper month." Even solar fared well despite the chilly conditions, with domestic solar PV panels chipping in around a third of the domestic energy bill.