Blue Green News: Jobs in Climate Action

This month's Blue Green News spotlights international and domestic plans that take action on climate change and create jobs in the green economy.

Increasing demand for renewable power means creating jobs in manufacturing, installation, and maintenance of solar, wind, and other emission free options. Successful energy efficiency programs will mean jobs for trained skilled workers to make home and business improvements and retrofits. Increasing funding and construction of public transit systems and infrastructure will mean hiring more operators, maintenance staff, engineers, electricians, and other skilled workers. 

And the great news is we know that investments in emissions free power are at record levels. We know that in 2015 $367 billion (US) was invested globally in renewable power. These investments create jobs in the green economy.

  

Paris Agreement on Climate Change

On Earth Day world leaders met in New York to formally sign the Paris Agreement, the first global accord on climate change that fully acknowledges the science of climate change. Signing the agreement commits nations to keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius and to work for that limit to be 1.5 degrees. 

The federal government needs to take decisive action to reach its Paris commitments, reduce global warming and create jobs in the green economy. It has set up four working groups to develop options for:

  1. How and where to reduce emissions
  2. Clean technology, innovation and job creation
  3. How to prepare for the impacts of a changing climate
  4. Putting a price on carbon

The government is soliciting comments on climate action from the public at http://letstalkclimateaction.ca/Blue Green Canada will be making a submission on the need for programs and investments that create good green jobs and how we get more Bang for our Buck when investments are made in renewables and energy efficiency programs.  

Alberta 2016 Budget

A significant step toward a diversified energy economy came with the release of the 2016 Alberta Budget. The budget includes the Alberta Climate Leadership Plan an economy-wide strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The plan imposes a price on carbon emissions, implemented through a carbon levy that will act as the key tool to pay for a greener, more diversified economy.

This carbon levy is projected to collect $9.6 billion over the next five years, $6.2 billion of that will be spent on diversification of the energy economy and creating jobs, including:

  • $3.4 billion for large scale renewable energy, bio energy and technology
  • $2.2 billion for green infrastructure like transit
  • $645 million for Energy Efficiency Alberta, a new provincial agency that will support increasing energy efficiency for homes and businesses

 

The budget includes $195 million to assist coal communities, Indigenous communities and others adjust to the carbon price. It also includes programs that will provide $25 million for new apprenticeship and training opportunities over 2 years. According to Iron and Earth, an organization of skilled oil sands workers including boilermakers, electricians, pipefitters, ironworkers and labourers, this is “a big step forward towards creating renewable energy jobs in the province.”

 

Blue Green Canada Member Spotlights

April featured amazing events put on by Blue Green Canada member organizations. Below are links to videos and programs from the United Steelworkers 2016 National Policy Conference and the Broadbent Institute’s Progress Summit 2016. 

Equality and Pride, United Steelworkers 2016 National Policy Conference

At the National Policy Conference, Canadian Steelworkers from coast to coast to coast adopted a resolution to advocate for legislative measures that address climate change; to push for a plan to address climate change that has at its core the creation of good Canadian jobs in a range of sectors; and to continue to push for a just transition to a low carbon economy in which the jobs of affected workers, families and communities are protected.

The membership also voted to continue to support and promote Blue Green Canada and to work with civil society groups, other labour organizations and social democratic governments to promote a sustainable Canadian economy that meets Canada’s climate change targets and creates good, high paying jobs for Canadian workers.

Speakers at the conference included USW National Director Ken Neumann, Alberta Premier Rachel NotleyStephen Lewis, and USW International President Leo Gerard.

Progress Summit 2016: Shaping the Future

The Progress Summit is the largest annual progressive politics conference in Canada and it is put on by Blue Green Canada member The Broadbent Institute. Progress Summit 2016 featured an incredible keynote speech by Gloria Steinem and a thoughtful interview with Desmond Cole. It featured a Great Debate on Proportional Representation, a passionate presentation by Cindy Blackstock on the need to bring justice to Indigenous communities, and instructive and hopeful message from Owen Jones.

 
For more information on Blue Green Canada members, click here.