Green Jobs BC Conference promotes green economy | Janet Southcott | Dec 7, 2016 | Powell River Peak
Opinion: The need to take the high road to a low-carbon economy | Darryl Walker and Lisa Matthaus | Dec 5, 2016 | Vancouver Sun
British Columbia is uniquely positioned to be a leader in the global transition to a low-carbon economy. With our supply of relatively cheap electricity and the right policies, we could be generating jobs today and tomorrow while we reduce our greenhouse-gas emissions.
This transition presents an opportunity to address two pressing issues of our time: the climate crisis and income inequality. The B.C. government has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to lead with policies that assist those who are most affected by climate change and workers caught in the economic transition, that advance respect and recognition of Aboriginal peoples in the spirit of economic reconciliation.
Global leaders, including Mark Carney, have identified this trillion-dollar economic opportunity — and accompanying jobs — that transition to a low-carbon economy represents. We need look no further than to California to find a partnership between labour, business and government that has so far resulted in the creation of more than 500,000 family-supporting jobs that support California’s climate goals.
A study out of University of California, Berkeley found that that state’s central climate policy provided the impetus to create these good jobs. State-certified apprenticeship programs funded with joint employer and employee contributions ensured skilled workers were ready to build a clean energy infrastructure.
Interestingly, many of these jobs were created in areas of the state with high unemployment and low income levels. This “high road” to a low-carbon economy wound up supporting local communities that needed it the most.
Countries like Germany and China are well on their way to reaching their emission goals through ambitious climate policies. China has, by far, made the largest investments in renewable energy, and economists believe China reached “peak coal” consumption in 2013. China is well on the way to supplying 20 per cent of its total energy needs from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.
So if we see that our trading partners are serious about meeting their climate goals, then what should B.C.’s climate and jobs strategies look like? To begin with, let’s stop thinking about them as two separate things. If we are serious about reducing emissions, we will create jobs. In fact, around the world, climate policy is the driver of green job growth.
Unfortunately, here at home B.C.’s recent Climate Leadership and updated Jobs Plan will see our climate pollution continue to rise for more than a decade and tether our economy to the increasingly tenuous fossil-fuel sector. Canadians are already experiencing the job losses that come with global decline in demand for fossil fuels.
B.C. needs serious leadership that aspires to build a low-carbon economy that puts people to work. Delaying action, while our global neighbours act now, means our inevitable economic transition will be more expensive and come at the expense of jobs today.
Green Jobs BC is focused on four key areas for climate job growth: Renewable clean energy, sustainable forestry, building retrofits and green buildings, and public transportation. Investments in these areas benefit not only the environment but will improve the quality of life for British Columbians and create family-supporting jobs that contribute to resilient communities. In fact, every $1 million invested creates 15 jobs in clean energy compared to two jobs in the oil and gas sector.
How do we pay for this transition? There are a range of financing strategies that have been proven to work, from impact investing to public-procurement policies. Existing public government subsidies that helped to build our carbon-based economy could be refocused to build the economy we want — and the one we need to halt global warming.
If you truly want to fix climate change, make it someone’s job.
Want to Fix Climate Change? The Green Jobs BC Conference Is Coming | Oct 17, 2016 | The Tyee
What's at Stake in the Transit Referendum? | Blair Redlin | May 25, 2015 | The Tyee
New map shows clean energy jobs across British Columbia | Pembina Institute | April 30, 2015 | Biomass Magazine
Retrofitting schools better solution than closures | | Dec 18, 2013 | Vancouver Sun