How infrastructure could build Canada’s clean economy

Over the next decade, $180 billion is earmarked for roads, bridges and other public projects. It’s a massive opportunity to cut emissions.

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Photo: Shutterstock/by Randy Hergenrether

Public infrastructure – airports, bridges, transmission lines, wastewater systems – is everywhere, which makes it an obvious target for cutting emissions. The sheer amount of ground it covers means we could make a real dent in Canada’s carbon footprint by changing the way governments make infrastructure spending decisions. And yet it’s an opportunity seldom discussed.

The Government of Canada plans to invest $180 billion in public infrastructure over the next decade. It’s a key opportunity to get our public infrastructure spending right. If we don’t, we risk being locked in to the wrong path for decades – with expensive retrofits being our only option to later cut pollution and ensure our buildings and bridges can stand up to increasingly severe weather events.

The advantages of smart infrastructure spending are detailed in a new report from Clean Energy Canada, which draws on expertise from professionals and stakeholders.

Here is why we should target public infrastructure in our climate-change efforts, and push governments to spend dollars differently:

The Government of Canada has prioritized increasing infrastructure investment and cutting pollution across the country. The 2016 federal budget saw the launch of the Investing in Canada Plan, the federal government’s long-term infrastructure strategy. This plan marks a historic new investment of $180 billion over the next 12 years in five key priority areas: public transit, green and social infrastructure, trade and transportation, and rural and remote communities.

This policy primer will make the case for why we should look to public infrastructure to build the clean growth economy. It will also provide advice to government on how to do that. MORE

Special Report Canada’s Clean Economy

Image result for canada's clean economyBuilding a high-performance, low carbon national economy is a major economic opportunity and a vital environmental responsibility for Canada. CHARLIE RIEDEL / AP

There are success stories and emerging giants in Canada’s clean technologies sector, spinning benefits for both large urban centres and small rural towns.

Produced in collaboration with the Ivey Foundation and I-SEA, this special report tracks Canada’s progress to a low carbon future. National Observer retains full and final editorial control over the reporting. HERE