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Canada needs to invest in green energy or get left behind in the world's clean energy revolution, say environmentalists.
Photo Credit: Larry Downing/Reuters

Canada needs a green revolution: environmentalists

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A global, clean energy revolution is coming to deal with climate change and Canada needs to get on board or get left behind, says Ian Bruce, science and policy manager at the David Suzuki Foundation, a leading environmental group.

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change focuses on the changes countries need to make to mitigate the devastating impacts of climate change and extreme weather.  The scientists on the panel say the cost of limiting keeping global warming in check is relatively modest but only if the world acts quickly to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

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Canadian energy sector emissions have seen the biggest jump since 1990 — roughly 70 per cent — due entirely to crude oil and oilsands expansion, a government report says. © Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press

Canada has one of the highest per capita emissions in the world, says Bruce. “As far as Canada’s record on reducing greenhouse gas emissions (go) we have fallen to the back of the pack as far as industrialized countries in the world.”  However he adds that provincial and municipal governments have made some progress.

Ontario making strides

The province of Ontario decided to phase out coal as a source of electricity and became the first jurisdiction in North America to do so. It is also prioritizing sustainable energy with its Green Energy Act. “That action alone has been the single largest elimination of carbon pollution in all of North America,” says Bruce.

Canada has moved up in terms of investment in green technologies, he says, largely because of the actions of provinces and cities.  It’s time the national government take action to invest in green technology, adds Bruce, noting that developing nations are seeking ways to reduce pollution and there is money to be made in answering that need.

Bruce says the Canadian government also should stop subsidizing fossil fuel companies to the tune of $1.3 billion annually and invest in better public transportation which would not only reduce carbon emissions, but would also increase the quality of life of citizens.

Posted in Environment, International, Society
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3 comments on “Canada needs a green revolution: environmentalists
  1. Peter Ashcroft says:

    True efficiency must be proven in new forms of power, together with sustainable development. Some present plans make me think of the non-swimmer who jumps in at the deep end and hopes for the best. So often, in recent years, new ‘bright ideas’ have been followed by the U-turn as they were not fully thought out properly beforehand.

  2. James Corcoran says:

    The answer is not to deforest and consume hundreds of thousands of acres of land for Industrial scale wind turbine corporations that use up resources and produce little useable electricity. That is a ” business as usual” approach which can only hasten climate change. Instead, what is needed is a full frontal attack on the demand side as others are saying.

  3. Pete Simms says:

    I would suggest that “green technology” is only a band aid. While I do applaud the sentiment of this article personally I see it as another means for big business to make money and a diversion from the current and very real problem of environmental vandalism.
    Old skills are dying. We are losing the ability to remedy on the ground the damage done. We no longer manage our forests and waterways, our public spaces or the environment. Put simply if we can’t use a chainsaw where an axe was once used then we no longer want to be bothered. We as a species like the idea of being green but don’t want to make any effort or sacrifice.
    To my mind if Canada and the USA are truly serious about being seen to be in any way concerned about the future of this planet then they need a three pronged attack. 1) stop all gas and oil exploration and halt any proposed pipelines 2) invest in infrastructure which is environmentally sound and 3) return people to the land with jobs and training so that they can clear up the existing spills and mess that the last thirty years have created. Good ethical land management is what this planet needs otherwise it is too little too late and its still lining the same peoples pockets.