Blue Green News: A just transition to a low carbon economy

Today our provincial and federal leaders are gathered in Vancouver to discuss climate change and moving to a low carbon economy. Blue Green Canada is focused on one important aspect of these conversations, the need to ensure the transition to a low carbon economy is a just transition.

A just transition means ensuring Canadians whose livelihoods may be vulnerable to the real and necessary actions needed to cut our CO2 pollution are not left behind. It means creating job opportunities, job security, and transition programs to assist affected workers. Just transition is not in opposition to, but complements environmental policies.

In February Blue Green Canada had an op-ed published in The Hill Times on the need for just transition to be included in Canada’s ongoing climate change planning. (You can read the full op-ed on our website if you aren’t a Hill Times subscriber.)

On February 29th we released a statement encouraging the participants at today’s First Minister’s Meeting to follow through on their international advocacy for just transition in Paris with actions at home.

Blue Green Canada believes Canada’s climate change plans should include:

  • A pledge to ensure that any costs of our transition to a low carbon economy are not unfairly borne by working women and men.
  • Support of reviews of labour force market impacts at provincial and community levels to assess impacted work forces and which transition strategies may be needed.
  • Recognition that industry, governments, workers, and unions all need to be involved in crafting transparent and workable just transition plans. Plans need to be flexible and designed for specific workplace and community realities.
  • An acknowledgment of the need for industry supported transition funds for impacted workers and communities.
  • An acknowledgment of the need for policies in support of impacted workers including support for retraining for new job opportunities, employment insurance flexibility for worker transitions, enhanced severance and salary continuance, pension bridging and early retirement options.

We recognize that one meeting will not produce a national climate agreement. We will continue to be advocates for climate action and just transition throughout this national process.

Blue Green Canada Member Spotlight:

Clean Energy Canada is an initiative of the Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University, in Vancouver, British Columbia. They work to accelerate our nation’s transition to clean and renewable energy systems by telling the story of the global shift to clean and low-carbon energy sources and conducting original research, hosting dialogues, and inspiring and informing policy leadership.

This week Clean Energy Canada released A Year for the Record Books Tracking the Energy Revolution—Global 2016 edition.

Their latest global analysis found that a record $367-billion (U.S.) was invested in renewable power in 2015 – a third of a trillion dollars. That’s serious money, nearly 50 per cent more than was invested in power from fossil fuels.

While Canada retained its eighth-place ranking for clean energy investment, 2015 totals were down 46 per cent from 2014, dropping to US$4 billion. Why?

Canada has a patchwork of provincial renewable power policies varying from province to province, and these policies haven’t provided long-term certainty. The country has also suffered from a lack of overarching federal policy support: pipelines trumped power lines as a national priority. But there was good news late in 2015—Alberta and Saskatchewan both announced targets to increase their production of renewable power, and the newly elected federal government has indicated that getting more clean energy on the grid is a priority.

Visit to read their full report and learn more about their organization and its important work.


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