The transition to a cleaner future represents a massive economic opportunity for Canada and the world-even without factoring in the rising costs of inaction and more intense natural disasters. Bold action on climate change is expected to spur at least $26 trillion in economic growth and create as many as 65 million jobs globally by 2030.
Reducing pollution and putting the right environmental and economic policies in place now will help position Canadian businesses to take advantage of this transition. Already, Canada is seeing the economic benefits of action on climate change; in 2017, clean-technology industries contributed $28.4 billion to Canada’s GDP, and employed over 183,000 Canadians. In addition, thanks in part to federal support and growing global demand for innovative clean solutions, Canadian clean-technology exports reached $9 billion in 2017, an 11 percent increase from the previous year.
Canada’s climate plan-developed after our government spent a year negotiating with provinces and territories and engaging with Indigenous peoples-put in place ambitious and practical policies designed to reduce carbon pollution and make it easier for people and businesses to change long-standing practices. We’ve done this while ensuring our economy remains strong and competitive and creating good jobs for Canadian.
Canada’s plan includes over 50 measures that help people save energy and money, encourage innovation and new jobs, reduce pollution and enable Canadians to prepare for, and adapt to, climate risks like floods, forest fires and extreme weather. We are supporting made-in-Canada clean-tech solutions and helping Canadian businesses invest in more efficient and cost-effective technologies that both improve their operations and their bottom line.
Enabling Canada to be a clean energy leader is a critical part of Canada’s plan. The Government of Canada recognizes that this will require changes to Canada’s energy systems-how Canada produces energy, how Canadians heat their homes and businesses, and how Canadians travel from one place to another.
The Government of Canada’s approach on climate change is ambitious, but sensible. We recognize that we must bring Canadians together across the country, ensuring people continue to have good jobs and communities thrive as we move toward a cleaner future. In 2018, we launched a Just Transition Task Force to provide advice on how to make the transition away from traditional coal-fired electricity fair for coal workers and communities. In response to the Task Force’s recommendations, Budget 2019 announced the creation of worker transition centres that will offer skills development initiatives and diversification activities in western Canada. In addition, a $150 million infrastructure fund will be established to support priority projects and economic diversification in impacted communities.
An economy-wide transition takes time, but we are well underway thanks to Canada’s climate plan, the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. It includes:
- A price on carbon pollution across Canada that encourages businesses to improve their efficiency and adopt new, innovative clean technologies, with proceeds returned to the jurisdiction of origin.
- Developing a clean fuel standard to reduce emissions from fuels used in transportation, buildings, and industry, which will help businesses choose to save energy and money by protecting the environment.
- Making a historic $3 billion investment to spur innovation and bring clean technologies to market, such as funding to support technology to pull carbon dioxide directly from the air, as well as $75 million to tackle challenges in clean technology.
- Supporting clean energy and power generation from solar, wind, biomass and geothermal sources, along with new ways for homes and businesses to harness this clean and affordable energy.
- Regulations to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 percent by 2025 will also encourage companies to find cleaner, more efficient ways to run their operations.
- Reducing pollution from buildings by developing “net-zero ready” building codes, a model code to guide efficiency improvements for retrofitting existing buildings by 2022, and supporting provinces and territories with mandatory labelling to provide businesses and consumers with information on energy performance.
- Setting new standards to improve the energy efficiency of appliances and equipment and to encourage innovation.
- Providing $1.01 billion in funding for energy- and cost-saving upgrades in residential, commercial, and multi-unit buildings, including support to improve efficiency in affordable housing developments.
- Making it easier and more affordable for Canadians to choose zero-emission vehicles through new federal rebates and investing in building more charging stations.
- Supporting renewable energy projects that will create good, middle-class jobs for Canadians through investments in green infrastructure.
- Investing $28.7 billion in the development and expansion of modern, reliable public transit so that Canadians and businesses can get where they need to go, quickly and safely, while reducing pollution.
- The creation of the Clean Growth Hub, which helps Canadian clean-technology companies access federal government programs and services.
As the various pieces of Canada’s climate plan come into effect, we are seeing real progress with cleaner buildings, transportation, energy systems and industries. As Canada’s transition to a cleaner future gains momentum, the Government of Canada will continue to increase the ambition with which we tackle the climate challenge.
To that end, we have engaged external experts through the Advisory Council on Climate Action to provide advice on how the Government of Canada can continue reducing pollution from transportation and buildings. We launched Economic Strategy Tables to identify new ways to turn Canada’s strengths into global advantages. We established an Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance to promote awareness among Canadian financial market participants of climate-related risks and the transition to a low-carbon economy. And the recently established independent Canadian Climate and Clean Growth Institute will provide evidence-based policy advice to decision makers as Canada works to reduce pollution and pursue clean growth in the years ahead.
Canada’s climate plan sets the stage for a better future built upon a stronger, more sustainable economy. To support this important work, the Government is committed to spending the proceeds it earns from owning the project, on the transition to a clean economy. Additionally, any net proceeds from the eventual sale of the project will also be invested in the low-carbon transition. Among other measures, proceeds could be used to fund public transit, housing, and green infrastructure projects across the country; advance the development of cutting-edge clean technology; make electricity more reliable and affordable; and invest in the future of transportation, for generations to come.