Canada gets poor marks on latest climate report card


A man walks between flooded houses in Constance Bay northwest of Ottawa on April 26, 2019. Photo by Kamara Morozuk

Countries across the world need to make their 2030 emission targets much more ambitious if the world is to stand a chance of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a major research report says.

And Canada is one of the biggest laggards, far from reaching its own targets which are themselves far from enough to keep warming to that level.

The annual “Brown to Green” report from the Climate Transparency partnership said Canada is far from contributing its fair share toward the 1.5 C goal, with the third most energy-intensive economy in the G20. And that’s despite having one of the cleanest electricity grids.

Canada’s economy expands significantly more energy per dollar of value created than the G20 average. Source: Climate Transparency

“South Korea, Canada and Australia are the G20 countries furthest off track to implement their NDCs,” the report said, referring to the nationally determined contributions countries committed to as part of a global response to the climate crisis.

Those goals are due to be updated in 2020.

The report, which its authors call the most comprehensive review of G20 climate action, was developed by experts from 14 research organizations covering most G20 countries, including Climate AnalyticsNew Climate Institute, and the Energy and Resources Institute.

The climate report card on Canada is pretty grim. Canada’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions are much higher than the G20 average, at 18.9 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per person. Much of Canada’s failure to limit overall emissions is due to energy-inefficient buildings and rising pollution from two provinces: Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Those two oil-rich provinces shut out the Liberals and their carbon price in the federal election in October.

On the campaign trail, Trudeau pledged to exceed Canada’s 2030 targets and achieve net zero emissions by 2050 with legally binding five-year targets, but with few details about how to do that. Now the Liberals are back in power, but with a weakened mandate, and facing big questions about how to implement climate policies with a minority government and a divided country.

Researchers who worked on the Climate Transparency report acknowledged the regional differences that complicate national policy-making.

Canada is one of the biggest laggards in the G20 when it comes to climate action, a new report from @ClimateT_G20 says, with emissions from buildings that are twice the G20 average.

“It is definitely not the same to decarbonize Saudi Arabia, or Alberta in Canada, than it is to become a nice Costa Rica,” said Enrique Maurtua Konstantinidis, from Argentina’s Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (Environment and Natural Resources Foundation).

Costa Rica is working to be carbon-free by 2050, with a plan for electric passenger and freight trains in service by 2022, nearly a third of its buses to be electric by 2035, and nearly all cars and buses on the roads to be electric by 2050.

“This brings a lot more challenges. You have a big piece of your economy depending on that … you have an entire population, or part of society, that was built on that production and you are actually telling them that actually has to be gone very soon.”

Canada will need to have a plan to help oil and gas workers, the report said, similar to what is being set up for dislocated coal workers as that energy source is targeted for a full phase-out by 2030.

The 2019 federal budget proposed a dedicated $150-million infrastructure fund to support affected coal communities, in addition to funding for coal worker transition centres.

Ipek Gençsü from the U.K.’s Overseas Development Institute said that various levels of government must work together to solve these tough problems.

“Not everyone can be retrained, we know that, so it’s just having to answer these very real questions,” she said. “But definitely not delaying it and not hiding behind sort of unrealistic scenarios of how much the sectors can continue to provide livelihoods for people, because it’s simply not true anymore.”

Canada’s fossil fuel industry accounts for 1 per cent of the national workforce, concentrated in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador provinces.

A chart from the Carbon Transparency report shows Canada’s emission from fuel combustion by sector

Insufficient goals

Yet even Canada’s goal to reduce emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 is insufficient, the report said, since hitting it would reduce emissions to a range of 518 to 557 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) and Canada needs to get to 327 MtCO2e.

If all countries merely hit their existing 2030 targets, global mean temperature would increase to around 3 C by 2100, said the report, which looked at emissions relating to the production of electricity, transportation, buildings, industry and agriculture.

Keeping the global temperature increase to 1.5 C cuts down the average drought length by more than two-thirds compared to a 3 C rise, limits the growing season’s shrinkage and the reduction of rainfall, and sharply cuts the risk of heat waves that ravage crops.

“G20 countries will have to ratchet up their 2030 emissions targets in 2020 and significantly bolster mitigation, adaptation and finance measures over the next decade,” the report said.

Membership of the G20 consists of 19 individual countries plus the European Union. Collectively, the G20 economies account for roughly 90 per cent of gross world product, and two-thirds of the world population and the world’s land.

Canada could improve its overall performance by adopting a clean fuel standard and enhancing measures to boost zero-emission vehicles, including light and heavy-duty trucks and undertaking deep energy retrofits of existing buildings, a country profile attached to the main ‘Brown to Green’ report said.

Canada’s emissions from buildings — including heating, cooking and electricity use — make up a fifth of its total CO2 emissions.

On the plus side, Canada has reduced the energy intensity of its buildings by almost 10 per cent between 2013 and 2018, although on a per capita basis they remain more than double the G20 average.

The full report and G20 country profiles can be accessed at the Climate Transparency website. SOURCE

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Retraining oil and gas workers sounds like an easy solution, but the reality is incredibly complex

Renewables and cleantech aren’t growing at a pace to absorb the hundreds of jobs the oilpatch sheds monthly. And then there’s the question of skill sets

It was on Monday, Oct. 21 — Election Day — that Jeff (not his real name) got his layoff notice from Husky Energy Inc., the Calgary-based oil and gas company. The coincidence of the timing wasn’t lost on him.

“I had voted Conservative literally hours before I was informed I would lose my job … because I knew a Conservative government would help our oil and gas sector and get that damn pipeline built,” he said.

The election results — a minority victory for a Liberal Party that has long been viewed by many in the West as not supportive of the oil and gas industry — only added to Jeff’s feeling of hopelessness that day. He is in his late 40s and had worked at Husky in their head office for a little more than 20 years, primarily in an administrative role, although he said he gained significant technical know-how about the sector over the years.

“I kind of knew this was coming, because everyone around us has been losing jobs over the past five years,” he said. “I just didn’t think it would be me, right on that very day.”

Canada’s oilpatch has been struggling since oil prices bottomed out in late 2014, so its troubles are not exactly a new development. Roughly 50,000 jobs have been lost over the past five years, and an estimated 7,600 positions are at risk of being lost in 2019, according to Petroleum Labour Market Information, a division of Energy Safety Canada. The unemployment rate among young men in Alberta is now at a whopping 19.9 per cent, up almost four percentage points from a month ago.

Policymakers have been scrambling to keep up with the traditional energy industry’s downturn and quell a brewing sense of resentment and hopelessness in the Western provinces. On the election trail, the rhetoric of “retraining oil and gas workers” to transition to jobs in renewable energy or cleantech was frequently touted as a solution, but the reality of that transition is incredibly complex, and involves far more than just retraining.

For starters, renewables and cleantech are not growing at a pace that can absorb the hundreds of jobs that the oilpatch is shedding monthly. There is also the question of skill sets, since working as a reservoir engineer does not exactly qualify someone to scoop up a job on a solar farm, simply because of how technically different those industries are. Salaries in the oilpatch — even in an administrative position like Jeff’s — are also comparably high, a disincentive for many to seek work outside the industry.

“The jobs are not returning,” said Cheryl Knight, the former chief executive of PetroLMI who is now an independent consultant researching labour trends in the Canadian energy sector. “So the answer to the question of how to help underemployed and unemployed oil and gas workers is individual in some ways. It depends on how motivated the person is, how much training is required, and how much time it takes to get there. It is not as simple as saying, ‘We’ll just retrain people.’”

The jobs are not returning

Cheryl Knight

Knight has spent nearly three years researching what kinds of jobs are being lost in the oilpatch and what sectors could potentially absorb the newly unemployed. They include, but are not confined to, petrochemical manufacturing, cleantech and power generation from both renewable and non-renewable sources such as wind and solar energy.

Rooftop solar programs created roughly 4,300 private-sector jobs, contributing $850 million to provincial GDP, between April 2017 and March 2019, according to data from the provincial agency Energy Efficiency Alberta.

Over time, the solar industry could have the capacity to create up to 10,000 jobs, said David Kelly, chief executive of SkyFire Energy Inc., one of the largest solar providers to residential and commercial buildings in Alberta.

“I just hired six people over the last three weeks,” Kelly said. “There are many ongoing jobs in electrical and maintenance work. Just about every electrician I have hired has done work in oil and gas.”

Such news might seem promising, but resource economist Sven Anders, a professor at the University of Alberta, cautions it is unlikely that the renewable energy sector alone will be able to generate the number of jobs needed to absorb job losses in the long run.

It is unlikely that the renewable energy sector alone will be able to generate the number of jobs needed to absorb job losses in the long run, experts say. MATT CARDY/GETTY IMAGES FILES

“Take wind, for instance,” he said. “There is going to be a lot of employment for the period in which the wind farm is being built. But once that construction has been completed, you basically just need a handful of engineers for maintenance.”

Knight’s research shows that tradesmen coming from oil and gas have highly transferable skills and employment opportunities in wind and solar, but project managers and design engineers are more likely to require renewable energy experience.

Kelly said that perhaps 30 per cent of his workforce comes from oil and gas, but most of them are electricians because they have the most transferable set of skills between both industries.

Adam Yereniuk, director of operations at Kuby Renewable Energy Ltd., another solar company in Alberta, said it has been difficult to find the right employees, especially those who have the technical know-how to work in solar.

“We try to hire out of NAIT and SAIT, because we know those graduates have specific knowledge,” he said, referring to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, two popular polytechnics that offer specific programs tailored toward retraining oil and gas workers.

But complicating the hiring process is that wages in the solar and wind sectors are simply not as high as in oil and gas.

“We don’t really hire directly from oil and gas, because we just cannot compete with the wages that sector pays. I can’t pay as much as Suncor,” Yereniuk said.

Oksana Treacy, project manager at SkyFire Energy in Calgary. MIKE DREW/POSTMEDIA

Case in point, Oksana Treacy, a project manager at SkyFire who formerly worked at Encana Corp., had to invest in pursuing a master’s degree in sustainable energy at the University of Calgary, in addition to taking a pay cut, before she could enter the solar industry.

“I was laid off right at the beginning of 2015, and I looked for a job unsuccessfully for about a year,” she said. “I leveraged all my contacts in oil and gas, but not a single person was hiring.”

Treacy said she felt her oil and gas experience was not taken seriously when she tried to apply to renewable companies.

“There was just so much competition,” she said. “I was lucky that I had been making good money and I could afford to retrain myself.”

Bruce Wilson, a former engineer at Royal Dutch Shell PLC., who currently works as a consultant for Iron and Earth, a B.C.-based organization that helps transition oil and gas workers into the renewable energy sector, believes that the potential of renewables is being severely understated.

For one thing, he said, clean energy costs are continuing to fall. He points to a research study conducted by the Rocky Mountain Institute that shows how wind, solar and energy technologies have improved and dropped “precipitously” in price, so much so that clean-energy portfolios comprised of these technologies are currently cost-competitive with new natural gas power plants, and provide the same reliable service.

“If we make a conscious decision to power our world, our industry and our homes with renewable energy sources, we could create that demand for jobs,” Wilson said.

But in the meantime, that leaves thousands of people without jobs. PetroLMI data show the bulk of the job losses in the oil and gas sector over the past five years have come from those involved in exploration and production, and oil and gas services. In other words, the engineers, geologists and business and project management staff that help find new oilfields.

There was a sharp increase in jobs related to pipeline services in late 2017 and early 2018, because of the number of pipeline projects ramping up back then. The former NDP government in Alberta forecast that the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline could bring the region an additional 15,000 jobs.

But Knight notes that these jobs will be unsustainable in the long run if they don’t directly involve the de-carbonization of the oil and gas sector.

The re-elected Liberal federal government has pledged to turn Canada into a carbon-neutral nation by 2050, in line with international climate goals. Whether or not that will materialize, most climate experts agree that meeting even part of that goal will require a monumental shift in Canada’s fossil fuel industry that sees it either transitioning into renewables or making massive investments in emissions-reduction technology such as carbon storage.

Energy companies in Alberta and Saskatchewan have started focusing heavily on investing in clean technology innovations such as carbon offsets, methane emissions reductions and environmental regulation compliance, all potential sources of new employment for those already in the sector.

The new Liberal minority government is a disappointment to energy workers in Alberta who feel a Conservative government would have had their backs and “get that damn pipeline built.” STEPHANE MAHE/REUTERS

Clean technology ventures related to the oil and gas sector accounted for $615 million in GDP and generated more than 4,500 jobs in 2018, according to Calgary Economic Development.

“Many of the services and occupations required to implement cleantech already work in oil and gas, and they pay well,” Knight said.

For example, chemical, mechanical or environmental engineers, as well as welders and electricians should be able to seek direct employment in any kind of venture related to reducing methane-emissions.

But these jobs are focused on innovations designed to reduce emissions, not eliminate them altogether, and are ultimately still in the oil and gas industry.

Bruce Wilson, who used to work for Royal Dutch Shell, works as a consultant for Iron and Earth, a B.C.-based organization that helps transition oil and gas workers into the renewable energy sector. MIKE DREW/POSTMEDIA

“We can’t have it both ways,” Wilson said. “You can fix the problem of jobs with five bucks now or 10 bucks later. We will ultimately need to transition out of the oil and gas industry altogether.”

To be sure, there are also startups sprouting up in Calgary dedicated to non-oil and gas cleantech solutions, such as using hydrogen as a low carbon fuel, particularly for heating, transporting energy and lower-emission vehicles. But in the short term, these startups do not generate nearly enough jobs to compensate for those lost in the oilpatch.

“Cleantech employers are small employers and they operate completely differently in terms of how they hire and who they hire,” Knight said. “There are a lot of word-of-mouth introductions that happen and those who don’t have existing networks in cleantech do not do well in that ecosystem.”

That leaves people such as Jeff, the Husky Energy employee who was laid off on Election Day, feeling “lost” as to what to do next with his career. Granted, he worked in an administrative role at Husky, so transferring his skills might perhaps be easier for him, but he is reluctant to leave the oil and gas sector.

My uncle, my brothers, we all work in oil and gas. We’ve done this forever

Jeff, former Husky Energy employee

“The idea that the sector is shutting down — because that’s what I hear people saying — is just very difficult for me to process,” he said. “My uncle, my brothers, we all work in oil and gas. We’ve done this forever.”

Understanding the West’s pride in their homegrown industry is something that Anders at the University of Alberta believes is severely lacking from any of the political decisions or announcements focused on the oil sector. For example, the Liberals in their most recent budget pledged a multitude of tax credits under the banner of “The Canada Training Benefit” program with the aim of helping transitioning workers from one sector to another.

“These people, their livelihoods and cultures are built around this industry,” Anders said. “Ultimately, the people of Western Canada need to be told that ‘Yes, we value you for what you are doing, but we would like to help you make that next step’, without giving them the impression that we don’t care about how proud they are of their fossil fuels.” SOURCE

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Opinion: Fossil-fuel workers ready to support energy transition


Lliam Hildebrand, is the executive director of Iron and Earth, an oilsands worker-led group that is calling for training and opportunities to work on renewable energy projects to assist the Alberta economy. File photo. SHAUGHN BUTTS / EDMONTON JOURNAL

Except for an isolated pocket of skeptics, there is now an almost universal acceptance that climate change is a global emergency that demands immediate and far-reaching action to defend our home and future generations. Yet in Canada we remain largely focused on how the crisis divides us rather than on the potential for it to unite us.

It’s not a case of fossil-fuel industry workers versus the rest, or Alberta versus British Columbia. We are all in this together. The challenge now is how to move forward in a way that leaves no one behind.

The fossil fuel industry has been — and continues to be — a key driver of Canada’s economy. Both of us had successful careers in the energy sector, but realized, along with an increasing number of energy workers, that the transition we need to cope with climate change could not be accomplished solely from within the industry.

Even as resource companies innovate to significantly reduce the carbon burden of each barrel, the total emission of greenhouse gases from all sources continues to rise. We must seize the opportunity to harness this innovative potential in alternative and complementary ways, mobilizing research and development, for example, to power carbon-intensive steelmaking and cement manufacture from hydrogen or to advance hybrid energy storage systems — the potential for cross-over technology is immense.

The bottom line is inescapable: we must reach net-zero emissions by 2050 in order to prevent runaway global warming, which is why we launched Iron & Earth in 2016. Led by oilsands workers committed to increasingly incorporating renewable energy projects into our work scope, our non-partisan membership now includes a range of industrial trades and professions who share a vision for a sustainable energy future for Canada — one that would ensure the health and equity of workers, our families, communities, the economy, and the environment.

An important aspect of the transition away from fossil fuels is that our nation’s energy-sector workers are ideally positioned to help build a vibrant and globally competitive clean-energy sector. This is because fossil-fuel infrastructure has a similar industrial “DNA” to sustainable-energy infrastructures, such as biofuels, biomass, geothermal, hydrogen and many other large-scale steel infrastructure projects. Thus, these projects require many of the same skill sets, the kind of attributes found in abundance in our oil and gas workforce.

A 2016 survey by Iron & Earth of skilled trades workers primarily with experience in the energy industry showed that 63 per cent believed their current skill set could be transferred to build and maintain a renewable energy future with some training, and 86 per cent expressed interest in training and development in renewables.

We need more than incremental change; we need planning and action on a scale and pace we haven’t seen since the Second World War when Canada massively retooled our economy to fight tyranny; we need to once again unite in common purpose to retool, re-invent and re-invigorate our industrial sector in defence of our collective future.

The lead must come from whichever party forms the next government. It will take unparalleled courage and political leadership motivated by an understanding that addressing climate change, while also developing our energy industry, doesn’t have to divide the country. Our only shot at avoiding the very worst of the climate emergency is if we do this together. MORE

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Alberta Created a Way to Help Fossil Fuel Workers. Kenney Is Wrecking It

Jason Kenney with Andrew Scheer
‘Empty promises.’ While Alberta Premier Jason Kenney stumps for federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, his province’s coal workers, their jobs phasing out, are angry he’s stalling the deal to financially support them. Photo: public domain.

he coal workers that Roy Milne knows are pissed-off, stressed-out and worried about their futures. Like many Albertans, they figured that voting in the United Conservative Party of Jason Kenney this spring would bring more prosperity and stability to their lives than the New Democratic Party of Rachel Notley. But instead they feel more precarious than ever.

“They’re going ‘hmmm,’” said Milne, who has worked in coal since the 1980s and is president of the United Steelworkers Local 1595 in the town of Wabamun, about an hour’s drive west of Edmonton. “They were mad at the NDP to begin with for phasing out coal so quickly. But they’re equally as mad at the new government for leaving them hanging in the breeze.”

With a federal election on Oct. 21, Premier Kenney has been off in Ontario campaigning for federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer.

But Milne said back at home, Kenney’s government has at various times frozen and delayed assistance programs for coal workers that were brought in under the Notley government, leaving laid-off workers, along with their families and communities, in nerve-wracking financial limbo.

When Notley unveiled the Coal Workforce Transition Program as part of the NDP’s commitment to phase out all coal-fired generation plants by 2030, it was hailed as a model for how to protect workers while responding to the climate crisis. On that score, “no other provincial government in Canada has worked as cooperatively with workers and communities,” Joie Warnock, Unifor Western regional director, said at the time.

But the Kenney government stalling on that promised support makes workers’ lives “extremely stressful,” Milne said. “You’ve got probably a mortgage, and a family and bills. You can’t sit around and wait.”

Kenney has promised that a decision about whether to continue helping workers shift away from a fossil fuel that is destroying the climate and rapidly becoming unprofitable will be announced on Oct. 24 when the UCP releases its first budget. But until then nobody, not even the mayors of towns most affected by the phase-out, has any clue what’s in store for them.

582px version of Roy Milne
Roy Milne says the coal workers he knows are ‘mad at the NDP to begin with for phasing out coal so quickly. But they’re equally as mad at the new government for leaving them hanging in the breeze.’ Photo by Amber Bracken for the Narwhal.

 

“If there’s any new dollars for coal transition, I wouldn’t know,” said Wabamun Mayor Charlene Smylie, despite the nearby Highvale Mine expected to lay off several dozen unionized workers by the end of this month.

Milne isn’t so sure it’s a coincidence that news about the support program is coming shortly after the federal election. MORE

 

As We Transition Away From Fossil Fuels, We Must Also Tackle Inequality

A worker looks onward at a chemical processing plant
A just transition to a low-carbon future must offer support not only to displaced fossil fuel workers but also to the surrounding communities that have suffered the negative environmental consequences of fossil fuel use for decades. WITTHAYA PRASONGSIN / GETTY IMAGES

Two truths lie at the heart of efforts to transition away from fossil fuels. The first is that to stave off the worst impacts of climate change, we must rapidly and dramatically reduce our carbon dioxide emissions. The second is that the resulting decrease in fossil fuel use and extraction will cause displacement of workers and the loss of tax revenue for many communities, and in some cases, it will eliminate entire tax bases.

The second truth does not change the first, and the costs of inaction will far outweigh the cost of decarbonization. But, for a just, low-carbon future, the solutions to climate change cannot exacerbate existing inequities by leaving workers displaced and communities without economic resources. A “just transition” — an energy transition that addresses and mitigates the challenges fossil fuel workers and communities face in a decarbonized world — will be a complex process. It will often require difficult trade-offs. However, proactive planning and organizing can help equitably transition these workers and communities into a low-carbon future.

The Reliance on Fossil Fuel Extraction

There is an increasing acknowledgement that fossil fuel workers must be provided with support during the carbon transition, as evidenced by policies in the Green New Deal and several Democratic presidential candidate climate plans.

Less discussed is the role that fossil fuel extraction plays in economically supporting local and state economies. In Wyoming, the top coal-producing state, taxes on coal extraction provide a substantial amount of the state’s annual budget. As journalist Andrew Graham detailed in the independent outlet WyoFile, coal companies pay the state through four different streams. These include:

      1. Severance tax: There is a severance tax paid to the state when coal is removed from the ground. Wyoming’s 7 percent tax on surface mined coal is one of the highest in the nation.
      2. Federal mining royalties: Approximately half of mining royalties paid to the federal government for coal mining on federal land are returned to the state.
      3. Sale of coal leases: When coal leases are sold, a lump sum payment is paid to the state.
      4. Ad valorem: A type of property tax, ad valorem taxes are paid at the county level and redistributed throughout the state. These taxes and fees are in addition to employing thousands of miners at high wages.

While steadily declining, in 2017, coal contributed more than $891 million in taxes, royalties and fees to the state’s economy. The estimated revenue in the state for the same year was $2.1 billion. While the state is attempting to diversify its economy through initiatives like ENDOW and Next Generation Sector Partnerships, there are steep challenges to attracting industries that can provide the same tax revenue and wages as the coal industry. In 2016, the average wage of a coal mining worker was more than $85,000, nearly twice that of the average for all industries combined. The role the coal industry plays in providing an economic base for the state cannot be overstated….

Who Gets a Just Transition?

The focus on fossil fuel communities and workers can feel misplaced. Other communities, in particular, those that have experienced environmental racism that left them with the negative environmental consequences of fossil fuel use without its benefits, are justifiably wary of the attention and resources devoted to transitioning extractive communities….

Just transition for fossil fuel workers and communities must be in addition to, and not instead of, transition programs targeted at under-resourced, marginalized communities that are hit first and worst by the impacts of climate change. These overlapping transition challenges can be met through expansive programs that both address the challenges specific to the cessation of fossil fuels and mitigate the historic burden placed on marginalized communities from fossil fuels.

Recent research provides a framework of principles that can guide just transition policy development. The principles were developed by analyzing just transition efforts around the world and understanding the short-term (i.e. immediate wage, benefit and revenue replacement) and long-term (i.e. economic diversification and retraining) needs that workers and communities will face. The principles include strong governmental support, dedicated funding streams, strong and diverse coalitions, and economic diversification.   MORE

 

Greens plan to expand on Trudeau’s coal phase-out to include oil and gas


Green party Leader Elizabeth May (centre) and Green candidates announce their commitment to ‘just transition’ for fossil fuel workers in Vancouver on Aug. 7, 2019. Photo by Stephanie Wood

The Green Party of Canada is endorsing the work of a task force formed by the Trudeau government to phase out coal power nationwide by 2030 and help workers transition to new jobs, but wants to take the plan a step further.

Party Leader Elizabeth May said Wednesday that the Greens fully support all 10 recommendations made by the Task Force on Just Transition for Canadian Coal Power Workers and Communities, which released its final report on coal workers and communities this spring.

At an event in Vancouver on Wednesday, joined by Green candidates from around British Columbia, May said she’d like to implement a similar process with a panel to visit communities dependent on oil and gas.

May said her plan is to ensure no workers are left out of work as the energy industry changes. “We are not at war with fossil fuel workers,” May said. “We are not willing to leave any part of Canada or any community behind.”

National Observer has reported that the task force exclusively researched conditions for coal workers. It recommended a large range of actions, such as $300-million to create a jobs bank, as well as community supports such as transition centres where workers can find information on jobs and training.

The report also found many coal workers felt mistrust for the government, and doubt in its abilities to fulfill promises of a stable transition.

May said visiting communities helped address that mistrust, and will do the same for people in oil and gas. “There’s more trust in honesty. We can say this is the plan, this is the timeline, and how much time do you need to adjust? What are your needs?” she said. “Empowerment and agency are the things that remove fear for all of us.”

She said planning for transitions, as well as oilsands cleanup, should start sooner than later, or else it could result in rushed, inadequate government assistance.

“We have to plan for the cleanup,” she said. “The same guys who drilled the oil wells can help us in reclaiming abandoned oil wells to geothermal power producing.” MORE

 

Power to Change: A New Deal for Climate Action and Good Jobs

Image result for NDP: Power to Change A New Deal for Climate Action and Good Jobs

A clean economy that works better for people

Our plan to fight climate change will create at least 300,000 new jobs, save families money, and take on big polluters. The time for delay and denial is over – it’s time to act.
It’s time to fight climate change like we actually want to win. But we also know that a plan that leaves workers or communities behind is no plan at all.

Our plan lays out a path that will make life more affordable, create good jobs, and ensure our environment is protected for our kids and grandkids.

We’ll create at least 300,000 good jobs in communities across the country, and provide training and supports for workers as our economy changes.

We’ll improve the buildings where we live, go to work, and go to school with retrofits that reduce energy demand – while cutting down energy bills for families.

We’ll make it easier to own a zero-emission vehicle, and make sure those cars are made in Canada. We’ll move to 100% electric transit, help communities work towards free transit, and improve access to affordable bus and rail service in rural and remote communities.

And instead of giving billions in subsidies to huge oil and gas companies, we’ll invest in a future where Canadians have good jobs, clean air and water, and can afford to live a good life.

And we’ll do it with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis as our full and equal partners.

The time to act is now. Together, we have the power to change. SOURCE