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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

This Aboriginal community is launching a solar project in the heart of Canada’s oil sands

Feature

Hilary Beaumont | Vice News - August 24th 2015

Press Clipping: The Lubicon Lake Band in Little Buffalo, Alberta, is surrounded by fossil fuel extraction, and the province is lighting up with increasingly intense forest fires. Now, a community leader is making a pointed statement: building a 20.8 kilowatt Piitapan Solar Project to show that they don't have to rely on electricity generated from fossil fuels.

Northern Alberta First Nation community Little Buffalo gets solar power for health centre

David Howell | Edmonton Journal - August 24th 2015

Press Clipping: The Lubicon Lake First Nation community of Little Buffalo is harvesting solar power for its community health centre. Melina Laboucan-Massimo, a community member and Greenpeace climate/energy campaigner, led the project as a way to demonstrate cleaner alternatives to fossil-fuel energy sources. Cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels would mean less contamination of First Nations homelands, as well as cleaner air and water, she said.

Climate wonks focus on economics. They need to pay more attention to politics.

Feature

David Roberts | Vox - August 21st 2015

Press Clipping: Citi GPS (a research arm of Citibank) has issued a magisterial new report that is both a detailed exploration of the economics of climate change policy and an attempt to answer the perennial question of whether acting aggressively to avert climate change is "worth it.” The report, written by a diverse group of scholars and analysts, digs deep on dozens of issues, including the size of investments needed to avert two degrees of warming.

Islamic call on rich countries to end fossil fuel use

Matt McGrath | BBC News - August 19th 2015

Press Clipping: Islamic environmental and religious leaders have called on rich countries and oil producing nations to end fossil fuel use by 2050. The Islamic Climate Declaration says that the world's 1.6bn Muslims have a religious duty to fight climate change. It urges politicians to agree a new treaty to limit global warming to 2C, "or preferably 1.5 degrees."

The Earth’s battery is running low

Feature

Andrew Nikiforuk | The Tyee - August 11th 2015

Press Clipping: In the quiet of summer, a couple of U.S. scientists argued in the pages of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that modern civilization has drained the Earth -- an ancient battery of stored chemical energy -- to a dangerous low. Although the battery metaphor made headlines in leading newspapers in China, India and Russia, the paper didn't garner "much immediate attention in North America," admits lead author John Schramski, a mechanical engineer and an ecologist. And that's a shame, because the paper gives ordinary people an elegant metaphor to understand the globe's stagnating economic and political systems and their close relatives: collapsing ecosystems. It also offers a blunt course of action: "drastic" energy conservation.

It’s time to change Canadian climate politics

Feature

Cam Fenton | Medium - August 11th 2015

Press Clipping: It’s election season in Canada. Over the next two months politicians will trade blows, pundits will talk themselves hoarse and at the end of it, Canada might have a new Prime Minister just weeks ahead of the next round of United Nations climate talks in Paris. With a collapsed price of oil, a summer of historic wildfires and a media that finally seems be ready to talk about climate change, we have a perfect recipe for climate to be front and center during the Canadian election. Yet, while emissions and temperatures are rising, the ambition of Canada’s political parties isn’t. It’s up to us to change that.

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.