‘Clean stimulus’ isn’t idealistic, it’s good economic policy

“Climate change is perhaps the greatest threat of our lifetimes, and that would be reason enough to ensure our recovery efforts are also helping us combat it. But it’s not even the only reason. Technology has evolved. Values have evolved. And our global economy has evolved with them.”

Canadian environmental and other civil society groups want the federal budget to keep its climate focus. Pexels

You may have missed it, but an interesting evolution happened here in Canada over the past two months: the country’s clean energy sector, which employs 298,000 Canadians, rallied together as it has never rallied before.

Canada’s clean energy sector has long been especially quiet compared to its fossil fuel counterpart. Unlike in oil and gas, clean energy jobs are not regionally centralized, most companies are relatively small, and industry associations are numerous. Wind power, solar power, electric vehicles, biofuels, cleantech, hydro: there’s an industry association for each of them.

Indeed, it speaks to one of the fundamental strengths of clean energy – just how diverse it is. And on the other hand, this same fragmentation is why the sector struggles to make itself heard.

But that changed this year. In the wake of COVID-19 lockdowns, over 360 signatories representing more than 2,100 companies—mostly in the clean energy sector—came together around a shared vision for Canada’s economic recovery. They asked for clean stimulus measures and a commitment to maintain and build on Canada’s climate efforts, key ingredients for a resilient recovery.

In short, the sector found its voice. And you should hear them out, because their argument may be more compelling than you think. While the idea of a clean (or green) recovery has made the news rounds in recent weeks, less covered were a number of new reports that together draw the same conclusion – that clean stimulus isn’t idealistic, it’s good economic policy.

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