Creating a cleaner climate

Creating a cleaner climate

< Back to Articles | Topics: Guest Post

Climate change is the issue of our times and we can’t talk about climate change without talking about energy. To help stave off the most devastating consequences of too many greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, we need to simultaneously change the way we produce energy and the way we use it in all facets of our day-to-day lives.

We’ve heard the warnings and we’ve seen the realities of worsening weather events. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has bluntly stated we have but 11 years left to take action to avoid the worst impacts. The stats are alarming and those stats have a human face. There are environmental, economic and social costs to climate change for us — and our children, grandchildren and all generations to come.

But let’s dare to be optimistic and embrace the opportunities that lie at the heart of climate action.

We can and are creating the clean jobs that help future generations believe they can have a future here in our province. We can harness the energy and passion of Indigenous citizens. We can take advantage of the skills of experienced workers transitioning into new industries.

Clean energy will be at the center of this reinvigorated economy. Nova Scotia must build on what we’ve accomplished so far and keep going with urgency and ambition. We must make even more homes and businesses energy efficient. We must make sure our new buildings are energy net zero. We must electrify more of our economy as our grid becomes greener. And we must rev up electric vehicles as our next rides.

The good news in a very difficult climate story is that the transition to a cleaner economy will create good employment. We can also make sure this transition is fair, inclusive and builds authentic partnerships with Indigenous communities.

There will be difficult decisions and there will be economic shifts that are challenging for many. But this transition isn’t an option or something we can ignore or put off for another day. As we have seen very recently on streets across Canada and the world, our youth are telling us that the day has come for serious action. They have read the science and they understand the urgency. Their voices are loud and clear.

Luckily, it has also become clear that there are very impressive numbers of clean jobs now. If we continue and build on meaningful climate policy there will be tens of thousands more across the country and significant increases in Nova Scotia, in the years ahead. Here are three examples:

• Clean Energy Canada recently reported that there were 298,000 jobs in the Canadian clean energy sector in 2017 and they forecast that to increase to nearly 560,000 by 2030 if we continue with meaningful climate policies.

• Efficiency Canada research shows that 436,000 Canadians are now working in energy efficiency and Efficiency Nova Scotia has estimated that at least 1,400 of them are working here in Nova Scotia — including a trade partner network that has grown from 130 to 300 companies in the past two years.

• Nova Scotia now has 57 approved solar photovoltaic equipment installers. One year ago, there were only 13.

This is all before we really start to bend the curve downward on emissions as a nation. Yes, there will be employment transitions for many hard-working Canadians, but we can tackle this with compassion and support. The earlier we begin, the more manageable the transition will be.

So let’s end the talk of jobs versus the environment and instead tell a tale of jobs and the environment. Let’s use our ingenuity to design a resilient economy and sustainable communities that can thrive in the future. Let’s continue to show leadership and face the challenge of climate change head-on and in our own backyard. Tinkering with the status quo will not be enough.

If you would like to learn more about Nova Scotia opportunities resulting from the transition to a low carbon economy, reach out to us at the Clean Foundation — we’d love to talk.

< Back to Articles | Topics: Guest Post

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