Can Canada tackle climate change and prosper economically
Deep Reductions, Strong Growth: An economic analysis showing Canada can prosper economically while doing its share to prevent dangerous climate change, shows that governments - and Ottawa in particular - can no longer argue fighting climate change means job losses and declining standards of living.
The study was commissioned by the Pembina Institute and the David Suzuki Foundation, with modeling by M.K. Jaccard and Associates Inc. Key findings include:
- Canada’s economy can still grow by almost 20% in the next decade while the country reduces its greenhouse gas pollution to 25% below the 1990 level.
- Canada will continue to enjoy strong net job growth.
- Meeting the 25% reduction target requires a significant price on carbon pollution as well as targeted regulations and investments to expand the use of clean technology.
- By 2020 Canadians will save more than $5.5 billion each year at the gas pump because of more efficient vehicles, more public transit and shorter commutes.
“This study shows the targets established by the scientific community are realistic and achievable while allowing Canadians to continue increasing their economic prosperity and quality of life. Canada has consistently failed to live up to its international obligations on climate change. Our challenge as a country is not economic or technological - it’s showing bold political leadership,” says Dale Marshall, climate change policy analyst with the David Suzuki Foundation.
The study proposes that carbon pricing would start at $50 per tonne in 2010 and rise gradually on an annual basis to $200 per tonne by 2020. It also identifies key sectors such as landfill, transportation and home heating where regulations can achieve large and quick reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
At the current global climate negotiations in Poznan, Poland, establishing specific targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is on the table.
“Recent polling shows Canadians want our global warming targets to be based on science. Canada must stop blocking science-based targets in UN climate negotiations and commit to targets and actions to cut its own emissions by 2020 in line with scientific recommendations,” says Matthew Bramley, Director, Climate Change for the Pembina Institute.
The current economic downturn does not affect the findings of the report.
All policies in the study start in 2010, allowing the economy time to recover.
And even if the U.S. and other major trading partners do less to cut emissions than Canada, our international competitiveness doesn’t have to suffer. The report shows that vulnerable sectors can be protected by returning some carbon pricing revenue to those industries.
The economic analysis was prepared by M.K. Jaccard and Associates Inc. using an economic model that has been widely used by the governments of Canada, Alberta and other provinces. The report presents the preliminary findings from an ongoing economic modeling project in which the Pembina Institute and the David Suzuki Foundation will also study the policies that would be needed to meet the Government of Canada’s current greenhouse gas target for 2020. A final comprehensive report from the project will be published in 2009.
Deep Reductions, Strong Growth: An economic analysis showing Canada can prosper economically while doing its share to prevent dangerous climate change can be downloaded at: www.pembina.org and www.davidsuzuki.org
New poll results on Canadians’ opinions on global warming, showing strong support for science-based targets, can be downloaded at www.pembina.org/pub/1735.