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

A note for Rachel Notley: A carbon tax is not political suicide


Marc Jaccard | Globe and Mail - May 18th 2015

Press Clipping: Alberta premier-elect Rachel Notley must be facing a long queue of oil executives with policy advice. Before getting overwhelmed, she might consider this modest proposal that solves her budget, energy, climate and political challenges in one go: Sacrosanct as this may sound in Alberta, Ms. Notley should implement a carbon tax. It should start at $10 this year, reach $20 in 2016 and $30 in 2017. Political suicide? Hear me out.

HuffPo celebrates four leading tar sands activists


Kate Sheppard | Huffington Post - May 13th 2015

Press Clipping: Evironmentalism has changed quite a bit in the last 10 years. From the emergence of climate change as the catalyzing issue of the 21st century to fights over the Keystone XL pipeline to the growing diversity of green groups, the environmental movement of today hardly looks like the one of yesterday. Here are 10 leaders who are reshaping our ideas about what it means to fight for the environment today, and who are worth watching in the future. Four of them are working hard to stop tar sands expansion and dirty oil pipelines.

Couillard calls for Canadian unity and action on climate change

Adrian Morrow | Globe and Mail - May 12th 2015

Press Clipping: Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard devoted the strongest words of his speech before the Ontario legislature for global warming. He warned that the “cost of inaction is even greater” than the price of fighting back. “We live today in an era that forces us to resist a false choice between economic development and environmental protection,” he said. “This fight against climate change is a challenge, but it is also an opportunity to develop a 21st-century economy.”

Church of England ends investments in heavily polluting fossil fuels


Adam Vaughan | The Guardian - April 30th 2015

Press Clipping: The Church of England has pulled £12m out of two of the most polluting fossil fuels – tar sands oil and thermal coal – as part of what it called its moral responsibility to protect the world’s poor from the impact of global warming. The move was approved by the church’s board on Thursday, the first time it has ever imposed investment restrictions because of climate change.

New map shows clean energy jobs across British Columbia


April 27th 2015

Blog Post: The Pembina Institute’s new interactive B.C. Clean Energy Jobs Map quantifies the number of jobs in the clean energy sector and pinpoints where renewable energy projects are located in the province. British Columbia has one of the most robust clean energy sectors in Canada, employing people in the province’s largest cities to its most remote communities, including many First Nations.

A new high bar for campaign integration


Jason Mogus | Communicopia - April 24th 2015

Blog Post: The Act on Climate March mobilized 25,000 people to the streets of Quebec City, three days before the Premier of Quebec's provincial climate summit. By bringing together the best of modern organizing, communications, and digital campaigning we were able to elevate our issue, change the conversation around it, and frame it in a way that boxed our opponents in, all while achieving breakthrough success in traditional and online media. It was a huge success, and, I believe, set a new high bar for campaign integration. Here's how I saw it all come together.

Wynne urges Harper to act on climate at Quebec premier’s summit


Krystle Alarcon | Vancouver Observer - April 22nd 2015

Press Clipping: Three days after 25,000 Canadians marched in Ottawa to demand more action on climate, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said Canada needs to take "more responsibility" to tackle climate change, and that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has to "take a position" on the issue. Wynne said she believes the prime minister would be present at the UN climate conference in December, but urged the federal government to take a stronger stance. "I think the federal government has to take a position," Wynne said.

Fossil fuels just lost the race against renewables


Tom Randall | Bloomberg - April 17th 2015

Press Clipping: The race for renewable energy has passed a turning point. The world is now adding more capacity for renewable power each year than coal, natural gas, and oil combined. And there's no going back. The shift occurred in 2013, when the world added 143 gigawatts of renewable electricity capacity, compared with 141 gigawatts in new plants that burn fossil fuels, according to an analysis presented Tuesday at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance annual summit in New York. The shift will continue to accelerate, and by 2030 more than four times as much renewable capacity will be added.