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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 Card: Canada’s Policy Support for Clean Technology Exports

Penelope Comette, Maximilian Kniewasser and Patricia Lightburn | Pembina Institute - July 30th 2015

Publication: Canadian cleantech exports currently represent over one per cent of this $1 trillion global industry, and the percentage of Canadian cleantech companies that are exporters is projected to grow from 68 per cent in 2013 to 85 per cent in 2015. The U.S. in particular represents a significant market for Canadian cleantech exports with 50 per cent of current export sales coming from U.S. markets. This report card is a scan of the policies and programs in place at both the federal and provincial level in Canada that support cleantech companies in their pursuit of export opportunities.

Hillary Clinton’s plan to combat climate change with half-a-billion solar panels

Emily Atkin | Climate Progress - July 28th 2015

Press Clipping: Hillary Clinton is going all in on renewable energy. On Sunday evening, the Democratic presidential candidate released a fact sheet detailing her plan to fight climate change, and it focuses heavily on promoting clean energy generation across the country. Among other things, the plan includes a promise to install half a billion solar panels by 2021, or the end of Clinton’s first term. That would represent a 700 percent increase from current installations.

Now is the time to tell Christy Clark you want a climate action plan with teeth

Merran Smith | Clean Energy Canada - July 27th 2015

Press Clipping: Last week, British Columbia released a discussion paper and opened up a public survey to get a sense of the climate-action ideas and priorities of British Columbians just like you. Let me level with you: This is a rare and terrific opportunity to tell your government that climate action matters to you. The Climate Action Consultation ends on Aug. 17th. Head over there now and click on “Take The Survey.” It only takes a few minutes and your input can help ensure a better future for all British Columbians.

Vancouver mayor talks to Pope about climate change

July 27th 2015

Press Clipping: Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson joined dozens of other mayors from around the world at the Vatican Tuesday to meet with Pope Francis and discuss the role cities can play in addressing climate change, sustainability, and poverty. Robertson was the only Canadian representative in the delegation of municipal leaders. In an interview with CBC News Tuesday, Robertson was critical of Canada's environmental track record. "It's certainly a big concern for mayors globally when the Canadian government is such a laggard," Robertson said.

It’s not climate change —it’s everything change


Margaret Atwood | Medium - July 27th 2015

Press Clipping: It’s interesting to look back on what I wrote about oil in 2009, and to reflect on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years. Much of what most people took for granted back then is no longer universally accepted, including the idea that we could just go on and on the way we were living then, with no consequences. There was already some alarm back then, but those voicing it were seen as extreme. Now their concerns have moved to the center of the conversation.

It’s time to talk about the oilsands


Tzeporah Berman - July 21st 2015

Blog Post: It’s time for a new, honest conversation in Canada. It’s time to recognize that the oilsands are, in fact, a technological marvel that took great Canadian ingenuity and acumen. It’s also time to acknowledge that when we began the exploration of the oilsands we did not know what we know today: We didn’t understand the cumulative impacts on our disappearing caribou populations, the toxic impact on our lakes and fish, the human health impacts of air and water pollution. Now we do.

Environmental groups to premiers: no oilsands in Canadian Energy Strategy


Canadian Press | Globe and Mail - July 16th 2015

Press Clipping: A dozen environmental groups across Canada say there should be no role for oilsands growth in a Canadian energy strategy. The groups want a strategy that would halt oilsands development and the infrastructure that would support it, such as pipelines, oil train facilities and tankers. They also want the provinces to make clean energy infrastructure a higher priority than new oil and gas proposals.

Canadian premiers fail to live up to climate rhetoric


Hannah McKinnon | Oil Change International - July 16th 2015

Blog Post: Canadian premiers are meeting this week to discuss the so-called Canadian Energy Strategy – an effort by Canadian provinces and territories to come up with a united front on energy in Canada. Increasingly, premiers have assured the country that any energy strategy must go hand-in-hand with ambitious efforts to deal with greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution and climate change. On this count, premiers look set for a spectacular failure and yet another missed opportunity to connect the dots, deal with their collective and clear cognitive dissonance, and make Canadian energy about much more than pipelines and oil.