A new report suggests that rather than expanding its exploitation of fossil fuels Canada should explore the economic and employment benefits from ramping up renewable energy. Economic concerns are a salient reason why some resist replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy. However a new report suggests that transitioning away from fossil fuels would not compromise economic growth or jobs.
This research does not factor the disastrous economic and health impacts associated with hydrocarbons.
A number of studies have shown that the benefits of acting on climate change far exceed the costs. The economic and employment benefits from transitioning to a green economy are evident all around the world. There is mounting evidence that nations all around the world are capable of getting their electricity from renewables and Canada is no exception.
All around the world we have seen commitments to go 100 percent renewable. This includes Denmark, the Japanese province of Fukushima, and Hawaii to name but a few. The G-7 Summit in Germany in June 2015 Britain, Germany, France, Italy and the US were all willing to sign onto a call for decarbonization by 2050. Although Canada and Japan said no, the all agreed to a phase-out by the end of the century instead.
The ruling Conservatives have worked hard to embolden Canada’s place as a dirty energy superpower. They have argued that this serves the best interests of Canadians, however, there is a tidal wave of evidence that questions their rationale.
On its own the climate crisis imperils everyone’s future. We know that fossil fuels are the primary cause of climate change causing emissions. There is a powerful logic to move away from fossil fuels even in the absence of the economic, employment and health benefits.
The new study suggests that Canadians can get twice as many jobs from transitioning to renewable energy as the do from fossil fuels. The research, published by The Practical Utopian in a report titled Almost Twice as Many: Green Jobs in Canada in the Transition to 100% Renewable Energy, shows that if Canada was to undertake a planned twenty-five year transition to renewable energy it would generate almost twice as many new green jobs as the number of fossil fuel jobs that would disappear. By the end of the transition there would be as many new permanent green jobs as there are jobs in fossil fuels today.
In an economy with 19 million jobs, fossil fuels support 550,000 direct and indirect jobs, the wages from which support 245,000 induced jobs, for an approximate total of 800,000 jobs. Only 4 percent of Canada’s workers depend on fossil fuels for their income the remaining 96 percent work in other fields.
Transitioning to 100 percent renewables would have economy wide implications with the majority of new jobs coming from the electricity, buildings, transportation and farming sectors.
The expansion of wind, solar, geothermal and other forms of renewable energy would support 127,000 direct and indirect jobs and 90,000 induced jobs. Energy efficiency retrofits to Canadian building and the phasing our of fossil fuels in favor of heat pumps or district energy would support an additional 93,000 direct and indirect jobs and 31,000 induced jobs.
Improving the infrastructure for biking would create 5,000 new jobs a year, mainly in cycle tourism, rising to 125,000 jobs by the end of the transition. Expanding LRT would generate in 37,000 jobs a year from the capital expenditure and 18,500 jobs operations and maintenance jobs at the start, rising to 462,500 jobs by the end of the transition. Electrifying Canada’s railways and phasing out diesel over the next quarter century would generate 14,000 direct and indirect jobs a year, plus 6,000 induced jobs.
In agriculture, eliminating the use of natural gas for fertilizer and switching to organic farming would generate 4,000 new permanent jobs a year, rising to 100,000 jobs by the end of the transition.
When all these jobs are added up there will be more jobs provided by transitioning to renewables than are supplied by the fossil fuel industry. All tolled there would be 876,000 new permanent green jobs, compared to the 850,000 jobs in fossil fuels.
The detailed 48-page report has been researched and written by the BC author and ecofuturist Guy Dauncey, with support from the BC Sustainable Energy Association, and is backed by over 100 referenced sources.
For media enquiries, call Guy Dauncey at 250-924-1445
To read and download the full report, click here.