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Canada Lagging far Behind on Green Jobs

The Pembina Institute released a new report today, Reducing Pollution, Creating Jobs.

Some highlights noted in Pembina’s press release:

  • The federal government could have created nearly three times as many jobs (238,000 rather than 84,000) by dedicating 100% of the $16 billion it invested in infrastructure in its economic stimulus package to clean energy. Instead, the government invested just 8% of stimulus spending in “green” initiatives.
  • International studies show that renewable energy is the pro-job choice, creating more direct jobs than generating electricity from fossil-fuel alternatives like coal or natural gas.
  • Oil and gas extraction is the most capital-intensive sector in Canada. This means that investing public dollars in virtually any other sector of Canada’s economy would yield more jobs for every dollar spent,
  • Green jobs are not just an opportunity for the future — according to one definition, more than 682,000 Canadians already held environmental jobs in 2010, nearly five times more workers than were directly employed in automotive manufacturing in 2008.

You can read a Postmedia News story about the report in today’s Ottawa Citizen here.

The report is complimented by a series of newly released federal briefing notes that indicate the Harper government is aware that the very programs slated to be cut in the upcoming budget are generating

green jobs. We’ve developed an action alert in response to these briefing notes.

Pembina’s most recent report helps to further build the solid case that investing in energy efficiency measures and renewable energy expansion is not only the right decision because it will help reduce emissions, it will generate green jobs at a greater rate than investing in fossil fuel industries.

While we certainly always need to look first and foremost to ways to reduce energy consumption, using energy more wisely and more localized energy production and consumption (visions of being a clean energy super power and “green” economic growth are problematic on a number of levels), investing in these sectors and generating good green jobs are critical measures in addressing the climate crisis.

The Council of Canadians strongly advocates for increased investments in renewable energy expansion, increased conversation and energy efficiency. On renewable energy, we advocate for public and community ownership. Why?

There are distinct advantages of the public sector playing a prominent role in generating decent green jobs including retaining economic revenues, maximizing social benefits, prioritizing conservation and ensuring energy security.

The Council of Canadians alongside the Canadian Labour Congress produced a report addressing public and community ownership as an alternative path to increased market liberalization in the electricity sector. The report outlines these advantages including highlighting a number of case studies.

The report also highlights opportunities for green job potential associated with improving energy efficiency.

You can read the report Green, Decent and Public here.

We also have an executive summary and four factsheets available here.