A new Blue Green Canada report released in November 2012 says Canada could create some 18,000 jobs by investing in clean energy rather than pumping more than a billion dollars into oil and gas subsidies each year.
The report, “More Bang for our Buck — How Canada can create more energy jobs and less pollution,” suggests that the same billion dollars would only create roughly 2,500 jobs if injected into the oil and gas sector, an industry that’s ripe with volatility.
Volatile pricing for oil is why expensive oil sands projects were hit the hardest during the recession. Meanwhile, investment in renewable energy continued to climb. The report cites an analysis by the C.D. Howe Institute that demonstrates Alberta as having double the government revenue volatility of British Columbia and Ontario.
“Canadians can get more bang for our buck — more jobs, more wealth and better economic stability — by investing in industries that help prevent climate change rather than those that make it worse,” said Gillian McEachern of Environmental Defence in a November 22, 2012 announcement about the report.
According to the Renewables Global Status Report 2012, it’s estimated that a combined total of 2.25 million people work in the biomass energy sector in Brazil, the U.S., China and Germany.
The Bang for our Buck report argues that the green jobs created in these countries are tied government investment. This is where Canada is failing, Blue Green Canada says. According to data from The Pew Charitable Trusts, Canada was rated 10th in a 2011 study that examined the world’s top 10 investors in clean energy.
“The federal government needs to recognize the potential to create jobs while thinking long-term for the health of the environment," said Dave Coles, national president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) in Blue Green Canada’s announcement about the report. "The oil sands provide our workers with jobs, but the current pace of expansion of that industry is not good for the stability of our communities or the environment. We need to get serious about the transition to clean energy, and that includes having a plan for putting people to work."
Blue Green Canada is an environmental advocacy group of Canadian labour unions, environmental and civil society organizations.
The Bang for our Buck report can be downloaded in its entirety here.