A recent report from the Pembina Institute suggests BC has potential to be an important innovator in the clean tech sector, stating that there are 14,000 jobs in green electricity already. Yet in lock step with the federal government's continued push to expand the Canadian fossil fuel sector, BC Premier Christy Clarke doggedly continues to promote Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) opportunities for BC, even to the point of stating that the negative response from several First Nations consultations was just an obstacle to be overcome. The total employment (2013) in BC"s mining, oil and gas extraction industry is 29,500. Only two of the five LNG projects in the province's 'vision' still appear to be on track; the industry is on shaky ground.
In 2011, there were over 120,000 jobs in BC in clean energy supply, energy efficiency and clean transportation; collectively generating $15 billion in gross revenues. With more support, BC's clean economy could be blooming.
The federal government subsidizes the fossil fuel industry by over $1.5 billion per year, not including advertising and PR the government does to promote. This is too much public money for wealthy corporations who are in fact small employers in a mature industry.
In Canada, direct employment in green energy increased nationwide by 37% in the last five years. Over 23,700 jobs were created in clean energy manufacturing, power production, energy efficiency, and biofuels. This outnumbers the 22,340 people working in the oilsands. Big oil in Canada claims that oil sands development will increase direct and indirect jobs from 75,000 today to 905,000 over the next 20 years; however, that translates to 36,000 new jobs per year and only 12,000 direct new jobs, mainly in Alberta. The reality is that other sectors such as healthcare, education, retail, IT, hospitality, and financial sectors will continue to be much more significant job creators.
Canadians are faced with a critical choice - continue along the short-lived, fossil-fueled energy path or seize the day and move into the age of clean energy. By diverting money and time to bolster the carbon economy of the past, we are missing significant opportunities in the 21st century economy. Why can't we be a clean energy super power?
Our understanding of the costs, both economic and environmental, of fossil fuel extraction and use is growing.
At the same time, support for the technical and economic feasibility of conversion to renewable energy infrastructure is increasing. A 2015 report Acting on Climate Change: Solutions from Canadian Scholars by scientists across Canada concludes that we can meet our energy needs without destroying our economy.
The time is now. Vote for a positive vision of the future - pledge your vote to Elizabeth May, a long-time environmental activist with a superlative track record for action.Read more