The new federal budget has increased funding for transitioning to a greener economy. But according to CBC Radio Host Bob McDonald, each Canadian will have to do their part to help the green industrial revolution by investing in it. In a recent article McDonald outlines “Why we need a green industrial revolution“.
As the current situation in the Alberta energy sector shows, relying on the oil industry to provide the majority of the employment and revenues to fill the coffers and pay for programs that benefit all Canadians, is not a good long term solution. Many Canadians are fearful of transitioning away from a fossil fuel economy, thinking that it will tank our economy.
Green technology is now outpacing all other sectors
The fact that green technology is now outpacing any other sector in the Canadian economy and expanding every quarter, we could see this economy employ the same amount if not more people in the near future. New jobs and skill sets in these and related industries would help unemployed workers get back into the workforce.
A think-tank group called Smart Prosperity has outlined this transition in a new roadmap for Canada’s green future called Report on New Thinking. In it, they advocate “innovative, clean businesses that generate the jobs of the future.”
Can the green industrial revolution provide a good return on investment?
There are indications that it can have a good ROI while at the same time moving towards the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This demonstrates that the transition does not have to slow the economy.
At the moment though this green technology is still a small part of our energy supply, with wind accounting for only 3.5%, biomass providing a mere 1.4% and solar is less than 1%. The key is to ensure that both on small and large scale, we mix sources and take advantage of the sources of energy to meet our ever increasing demands.
Many communities are beginning to look at building local energy projects to meet the needs of their infrastructure. Rooftop solar panels are perceived as expensive but the cost are coming year after year and will continue to do so as more people and communities install them.
Reduce fossil fuel subsidies
The fossil fuel industry receives federal subsidies which are not going to be reduced by the current Liberal government. Despite a green federal budget that is filled with environmental measures, ranging from green infrastructure and transit funding to clean technology research and development.
However, a campaign promise to “phase out subsidies to the fossil fuel industry over the medium-term” did not make the cut in the first Liberal budget.
As Bob McDonald writes in his article, “it’s harder to transition to a cleaner, greener technology when we are still supporting the dirty old one”.
The technologies and the research are only part of the picture. Canadians have to buy into this new green technology the way we have embraced fossil fuels in the past.
It may cost more upfront but in the long run the investment will pay off for Canada.
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