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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

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.

New study says tar sands development must be phased out to keep climate cool

Feature

Editors | Tar Sands Solutions - January 14th 2015

Press Clipping: For years activists and scientists have been saying that extracting and burning tar sands oil is incompatible with reducing the risk of runaway climate change. Now, a new study published in the prestigious science journal Nature vindicates those who think exploiting the tar sands means it’s “game over for the climate.” “We’ve now got tangible figures of the quantities and locations of fossil fuels that should remain unused in trying to keep within the 2C temperature limit,” said Christophe McGlade, at University College London (UCL), and who led the new research.

Carbon pricing set to cover 80% of Canadian economy

Ed King | Responding to Climate Change - January 13th 2015

Press Clipping: Over 80% of Canada’s economy could be covered by a carbon tax by the end of 2015, after the province of Ontario announced it would release plans to price greenhouse gas emissions. Ontario environment minister Glenn Murray told local media he would unveil the strategy later this year, promising it would be “efficient, effective and economically positive.” “We have given up that the national government will eventually introduce a price on carbon,” he said.

Green with envy: Canada should follow these clean energy leaders

January 12th 2015

Blog Post: A new study in Nature warns that a large percentage of the world’s untapped fossil fuel reserves (including almost all of the Canadian oilsands) need to be left in the ground in order to prevent global temperatures from rising above 2 C – the environmentally-perilous threshhold that 195 countries (including Canada) committed to avoiding. Environment Canada's latest report finds us way behind said climate change commitment. But the silver – err, green – lining is that renewable energy is showing increasing economic and political promise – both at home and abroad.

Flood tide for the climate movement

Feature

Carl Pope | HuffPo - January 12th 2015

Blog Post: Washington headlines bickering about the Keystone XL Pipeline, and acrimonious Republican sniping at EPA's proposed initiatives to clean up U.S. power plant carbon pollution shouldn't obscure the exhilarating new reality: The climate battle has moved to a new phase, one in which the scale of the solutions being debated is, for the first time, approaching the scale of the problem.

Time for Ontario to put a price on carbon pollution

Keith Stewart | Greenpeace Canada - January 12th 2015

Blog Post: There is a way to turn low oil prices into an unequivocally good thing for the environment: We need to put a price on pollution. Making polluters pay for using the atmosphere as a garbage dump is recognized as smart policy by everyone from Preston Manning to Naomi Klein. That has been true for a long time, but this is the right time for three reasons.

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.