Job Forecasts for Renewable Energy in Ontario

The Review of Ontario’s Feed-in-Tariff program concluded its feedback phase on December 14, 2011. A joint submission to the Review by the Green Energy Act Alliance and Shine Ontario argues that the existing target of 13% of energy consumption from new renewables is too low to sustain job creation, and therefore proposes a target of 26% by 2018. This, it is claimed, would create over 300,000 full-time person-years of employment in manufacturing, development and construction and operational jobs. The report provides details about its job creation modeling for three renewable categories: 1) solar PV, 2) wind, and 3) biomass, biogas and hydro. The forecasts rely on the Jobs and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) tools developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Berkeley, California, as well as 2011 analysis by ClearSky Advisors and a 2010 report by Navigant Consulting for SkyPower.

 

Shine Ontario is a new Ontario provincial solar industry and professional association composed of independent professionals, leading utility-scale solar and commercial rooftop solar project developers, photovoltaic module manufacturers, engineering construction firms and leading environmental organizations throughout Ontario.

 

LINKS:

Ontario Government FIT Energy Review website at:

http://www.energy.gov.on.ca/en/fit-and-microfit-program/2-year-fit-review/

 

Green Energy Act Alliance and SHINE Ontario Submission is at:

http://environmentaldefence.ca/sites/default/files/report_files/FIT.Review_Updated.pdf

Professional Associations have a Role to Play in Climate Change

A report published by West Coast Environmental Law starts from the position that climate change is a cross-cutting issue that affects advice and decision-making in many different professions, including architects and engineers, professional foresters, biologists, insurance professionals, accountants, and city planners. The report calls for an enhanced role for professional associations using the existing tools, such as codes of conduct and ethics, standards of practice, requirements for continuing professional development, and policy statements. In one example, the author suggests a statement of ethical responsibility to “act in the public interest (including promoting sustainability); not speak beyond one’s expertise or competence; not make misleading statements or falsify data; and act with due diligence”. The report describes exemplary climate change initiatives underway by such groups as the Canadian Institute of Planners, Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (APEG BC), and Greenhouse Gas Management Institute (GHGMI).

 

LINKS:

Professionals and Climate Change: How professional associations can get serious about global warming, written by Andrew Gage and published by West Coast Environmental Law (WCEL), a British Columbia “non-profit group of environmental law strategists and analysts dedicated to safeguarding the environment through law”. Available at:
http://wcel.org/sites/default/files/publications/Professionals%20and%20Climate%20Change_0.pdf

Impact Analysis of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the U.S. Northeast

In 2009, ten Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states began the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the first market-based program in the U.S. to reduce CO2 emissions from power plants. In a report released in mid-November, 2011, researchers found that the net effect of the first three years of RGGI has been the creation of 16,000 new “job years”, with each of the ten states showing net job additions. Jobs related to RGGI include engineers who perform efficiency audits; workers who install energy efficiency measures in commercial buildings; staff performing teacher training on energy issues; and workers in state-funded programs that might have been cut had a state not used RGGI funds to close budget gaps.

 

The paper is also an overview of this innovative program. Its unique approach is to “follow the money”, from the auction, where power plant owners spent roughly $912 million to buy CO2 allowances, to the state level where virtually all the $912 million in allowance proceeds were disbursed back into the economy in diverse ways such as energy efficiency measures, community-based renewable power projects, assistance to low income customers to help pay their electricity bills, education and job training programs, and even contributions to a state’s general fund. Consumers now pay regional electricity rates that reflect a price on CO2 emissions, and emissions have been reduced because of the RGGI (as well as the economic recession).

 

LINKS:

The Economic Impacts of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative on Ten Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States: Review of the use of RGGI auction proceeds from the first three-year compliance period by Paul J. Hibbard, Susan F. Tierney, Andrea M. Okie, & Pavel G. Darling published by the Analysis Group at:

http://www.analysisgroup.com/uploadedFiles/Publishing/Articles/Economic_Impact_RGGI_Report.pdf

What is the Role of ILO in Climate Change Adaptation?

In early December, the International Labour Organization (ILO) released a working paper jointly produced by ILO’s Employment Intensive Investment Programme and the Green Jobs Programme. Towards an ILO Approach to Climate Change Adaptation explores the implications of climate change, its impacts on the world of work, and the role to be played by the ILO. This report is a detailed description of the relevant ongoing work, including the Decent Work Agenda, Green Jobs Programme and Skills for Green Jobs. It also discusses future strategies and priorities for the ILO and identifies three clusters which can serve as a basis for the integration of initiatives: 1) Local resource-based infrastructure, Social Protection, Income and Local Development, 2) Re-skilling, Social Protection and Active Labour Market Policies, and 3) Disaster Risk Reduction and Access to a Range of Financial Services.

 

LINKS:

Towards an ILO Approach to Climate Change Adaptation. Available at:

http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_emp/—emp_ent/documents/publication/wcms_169569.pdf

International Study of Biodiversity and Employment

A report to the European Commission considers the nature and number of jobs linked to biodiversity. Direct jobs are those which manage and conserve protected areas, or in biodiversity sustained sectors, such as in fisheries, forestry and agriculture. In ecosystem services, such as water provision and purification, people are employed in water management and related industries. The number of jobs attributed to biodiversity and ecosystem services is significant both in the EU and developing countries, although there is a difference in distribution and skill-levels. Ecoservice jobs represent 35% of jobs in developing countries compared to 7% in the EU. Also, in the EU, biodiversity-related employment is often highly skilled, whereas in developing countries, it tends to be low skilled and poorly paid, particularly in primary industries such as agriculture and fishing.

LINKS:

The Social Dimension of Biodiversity Policy: Final Report for the European Commission, (231 pages) is available at:

COP17, the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban

The 17th United Nations Climate Change Conference was held in Durban, South Africa in November/ December. Official documents from the conference are posted at the United Nations UNFCC website at: http://unfccc.int/2860.php; for analysis and summaries of the conference, try the detailed and highly-readable report, On the Road Again, from the Wuppertal Institute at: www.wupperinst.org/en/cop, or a news report from The Guardian (UK) at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jan/05/business-must-get-ready-for-low-carbon-world. Environment Canada’s position statements for the COP 17 are at: http://www.climatechange.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=E18C8F2D-1, and for the record, Canada’s statement of withdrawal from Kyoto on December 12 is at:  http://www.ec.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=FFE36B6D-1&news=6B04014B-54FC-4739-B22C-F9CD9A840800

Quebec Cap and Trade Begins

Starting on January 1, 2012, Quebec begins a one-year transition period to help large carbon emitters in the province adjust to its cap and trade policy. The full program will start in 2013 and will require companies which produce more than 25,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year (about 75 companies, mainly aluminum and mining) to reduce their carbon footprint or buy clean-air credits at $10 per tonne of greenhouse gases. A Globe and Mail article is at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/quebec-goes-it-alone-with-cap-and-trade-climate-plan/article2273374/

 

The text of the draft regulation is available in the Quebec Official Gazette in English at: http://www.mddep.gouv.qc.ca/changements/plan_action/projet-reglement/droits-emission-ges_an.pdf

and in French at:

http://www.mddep.gouv.qc.ca/changements/carbone/reglementPEDE.pdf

B.C. Business Leaders Support Carbon Tax

An open letter to the citizens of British Columbia was released on December 19, 2011 and signed by 85 British Columbia business leaders. Citing the urgency highlighted in the recent report by the National Round Table on Energy and the Environment, as well as the example of California and Australia, the letter endorses the current B.C. carbon tax and calls on the government “to commit to a schedule of continuing increases after July 2012” …to “help us secure a better future, while creating new, high-paying jobs today, in non-polluting industries”. The open letter was coordinated by Tides Canada, The Pembina Institute, and the David Suzuki Foundation, where the full text of the letter is posted at: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/media/news/downloads/2011/Carbon_Tax_Open_Letter.pdf

Energy Efficiency in the U.K.

Britain has launched a Green Deal consultation to run from December 23, 2011 to January 18, 2012. In a speech in Parliament as part of his annual Energy Statement, the Minister of the Department of Energy and Climate Change discussed the Green Deal, which allows individuals and businesses to make energy efficiency improvements to their buildings at no upfront cost, allowing repayment in installments through the ongoing electricity bill. The Minister predicts the measures would not only protect property owners from rising energy bills but also support at least 65,000 insulation and construction jobs by 2015. See a summary at: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/consultations/green_deal/green_deal.aspx

Change at the Pew Center

A press release on November 9, 2011 announced that the Pew Center on Global Climate Change has been succeeded by C2ES, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. Funding for the Centre has been shifted from the Pew Charitable Trusts to key sponsors Entergy, HP and Shell, as well as major contributions from the Alcoa Foundation, Bank of America, GE, The Energy Foundation, Duke Energy, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. C2ES describes itself as “an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization working to advance strong policy and action to address the twin challenges of energy and climate change”. The new website is at: http://www.c2es.org/; the press release about the name change and new foci of activity is at: http://www.c2es.org/press-center/press-releases/C2ES-launch-announcement

Climate Change and Migration

COST, the intergovernmental framework for European Cooperation in Science and Technology, has the goal of coordinating and reducing fragmentation of nationally-funded research on a European level. COST has announced a new “action” which will bring together established and early-stage social scientists to study climate change and migration across three interrelated fields of investigation: knowledge; law and policy; and theory. An overview of the new initiative, to be chaired by Dr. Andrew Baldwin, Department of Geography, Durham University, U.K., is available at: http://www.cost.esf.org/domains_actions/isch/Actions/IS1101