With the January 18, 2012 decision by U.S. President Obama to deny its presidential permit, the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline has been back in the news. And in Canada, the Joint Review Panel for the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Project began conducting community hearings on January 10th. Although most opposition to both pipelines focuses on environmental damage, the promise of job creation is a powerful factor behind the debate. With the release on January 26th of a confidential policy document of the federal government, Greenpeace Canada has called into question the neutrality of the Canadian government and the National Energy Board in this environment/jobs debate.
“Federal documents spark outcry by oil sands critics” (Jan 26, 2012) in the Toronto Globe and Mail at:
Confidential federal tar sands strategy targets Aboriginal and green groups at:
Greenpeace cites Pan-European Oil Sands Advocacy Strategy, obtained by Freedom of Information legislation, and available at:
The Cornell Global Labor Institute has updated and re-released Pipedreams? Jobs gained, jobs lost by the construction of Keystone XL, which concludes that the oil industry claims of job creation in the U.S. are unsubstantiated and exaggerated. Pipedreams? states that 50% or more of the steel pipe to be used in the pipeline will be manufactured outside of the U.S.; jobs will be temporary; between 85-90% of workers be non-local or from out of state; and that in the long-term, jobs would be lost due to higher fuel costs in the Midwest, pipeline spills, pollution, and climate change impacts. The Cornell report specifically disputes The Perryman Report, commissioned by Transcanada Corporation, which estimates that “the $7 billion pipeline project is expected to directly create more than 20,000 high-wage manufacturing jobs and construction jobs in 2011-2012 across the U.S., stimulating significant additional economic activity”.
Cornell University Global Labour Institute website, with links to other Keystone Pipeline documents, at:
Pipedreams? Jobs gained, jobs lost by the construction of Keystone XL at:
Transcanada Inc. website is at:
The Perryman Report, formally The Impact of Developing the Keystone XL Pipeline Project on Business Activity in the US: An Analysis Including State-by-State Construction Effects and an Assessment of the Potential Benefits of a More Stable Source of Domestic Supply is available at: http://www.transcanada.com/docs/Key_Projects/TransCanada_US_Report_06-10-10.pdf
Keystone XL Pipeline archive of stories and related documents at the New York Times website at: http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/k/keystone_pipeline/index.html
Fact sheets at the Enbridge website claim that, with an estimated capital cost of $5.5 billion, construction of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline will create about 62,700 person-years of employment across Canada over 3 years (5,537 person-years of employment on actual on-site construction; 17,227 person-years in companies that directly supply goods and services, and 39,930 person-years of spin-off employment).: Enbridge has an educational and training strategy to utilize local workers, and in November 2011, the company announced a commitment of $1.5 million in core funding for a Gateway Education and Training Fund to train Aboriginal people in pipeline construction skills.
Enbridge’s Northern Gateway website at:http://www.northerngateway.ca/economic-opportunity/benefits-for-british-columbians/ provides an overview of the company’s estimates for job creation, or
See Socio-economic Fact Sheet at:
National Energy Board website for the Enbridge Northern Gateway Review Panel at: http://gatewaypanel.review-examen.gc.ca/clf-nsi/hm-eng.html.
(See the Public Registry for all official documents and submissions at:
CBC Northern Gateway Pipeline: benefits vs. concerns January 10, 2012, with links to related documents at:
A new report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy provides case studies of workplace programs to reduce energy use, by changing employees’ attitudes and behaviours. Of the five case studies, three are Canadian: B.C Hydro, University Health Network (Toronto) and the British Columbia Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resource. The other two case studies are of the Empire State Building in New York and the U.S. House of Representatives.
Greening Work Styles: An Analysis of Energy Behavior Programs in the Worplace (January 2012) is available at:
A study released by HEC Montréal at the end of 2011 has projected that electricity generation projects already under consideration across Canada until 2030 would create 776,000 FTEs for construction firms and their suppliers, with a further 224,000 FTEs forecast to be created by increased spending by those directly or indirectly employed by the projects. The report was conducted at the request of the Canadian Hydropower Association (CHA) and conducted by a team of MBA students at the HEC Montréal. A total of 158 hydropower projects were identified across Canada, with 3 scenarios developed using Statistics Canada’s Input-Output modeling.
Job Creation and Economic Development Opportunities in the Canadian Hydropower Market is available at:
The Pembina Institute has released a fact sheet and a backgrounder which describe and advocate the potential of municipalities to encourage renewable energy and reduce energy consumption. Clean Local Energy Available Now (CLEAN) contracts, known as feed-in-tariffs in Europe, have not been implemented in any Canadian cities yet, although a Renewable Energy Task Force in Edmonton, Alberta has examined the idea, and U.S. and German examples are named. Regarding jobs, the Fact Sheet states: “A FIT provides durable and predictable market conditions, essential to attracting infrastructure investment and developing local manufacturing capacity. The economic benefit of any clean energy project is directly related to the degree to which materials, components and labour can be locally sourced”.
A study of clean energy funds (CEFs) operated in 20 states in the U.S describes various models used by the funds to encourage the development of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, with short case studies of Massachusetts, California, and New York. Researchers conclude that, especially in the absence of coordinated federal policies, state-level clean energy funds can collectively become an important driver of national economic growth, if the CEF’s re-orient themselves from a project focus to broader economic development objectives, linked and coordinated with other agencies and stakeholders in the clean energy industry.
Renewable Energy: FIT for Cities Fact Sheet is at the Pembina Institute website at:
Leveraging State Clean Energy Funds for Economic Development was released by the Brookings Institute at:
In a follow-up to U.S. President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address on January 24th, the White House released an economic statement which includes a section on creating clean energy jobs. “The President called on Congress to build on our success in positioning America to be the world’s leading manufacturer in high-tech batteries and reiterated his call for action on clean energy tax credits and a national goal of moving toward clean sources of electricity by setting a standard for utility companies, so that by 2035, 80% of the nation’s electricity will come from clean sources, including renewable energy sources like wind, solar, biomass, hydropower, nuclear power, efficient natural gas, and clean coal. Because Congress has not yet acted on this and other key steps to achieve a clean energy economy, the President announced that the Department of the Navy will make the largest renewable energy purchase in history – one gigawatt. In addition, the President is directing the Department of Interior to permit 10 gigawatts of renewables projects by the end of the year, enough to power three million homes.”
Blueprint for an America Built to Last economic statement at:
The Global 100 claims to be “the most extensive data-driven corporate sustainability assessment in existence”. Launched in 2005 by Toronto-based media company Corporate Knights, this annual clean capitalism ranking is announced each year during the World Economic Forum in Davos. Companies from around the world are ranked according to energy productivity, waste management, water use, CO2 emissions, and a “Clean Capitalism Paylink”, which recognizes companies that link the remuneration of senior executives with the achievement of clean capitalism goals or targets. Six Canadian companies were listed in the world’s top 100 sustainable companies for 2012: Suncor Energy (ranked 48th); Enbridge (71st); Encana (76th); Nexen (89th); Sun Life Financial (91); and Royal Bank of Canada (95th).
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) put forward its 5 principles for world economic recovery: Job creation, Social protection, sustainable demand and decent work, Financial regulation, Fair and progressive taxation, and Climate action. Its climate change goals include reducing emissions of industrialised countries by 25-40% by 2020, implementing a green climate fund, and ensuring a just transition for workers and communities.
Global 100 press release, January 25, 2012 is at the Corporate Knights website at: http://www.corporateknights.ca/sites/default/files/Global100Release_Final_Jan25%281%29.pdf
For details on the research and methodology of the rankings, as well as current and past lists of companies, go to: http://global100.org/index.php
Labour’s five demands for jobs, growth and equity is at:
While reaffirming its support of Ontario’s Green Energy Act, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture on January 20 released a new position statement, calling on the Ontario government to suspend industrial wind turbine development. The OFA states that the issue is seriously polarizing rural communities and preoccupying the rural agenda. This controversy comes as a new wind energy installation built by the CAW at its Family Education facility at Port Elgin, Ontario is about to become fully operational. A letter from CAW President Ken Lewenza to the local Member of Parliament makes clear that the union has encountered local opposition to its clean energy initiative. Read the OFA Position statement on Industrial Wind Turbines at:
CAW Clean Wind Energy website at: http://www.caw.ca/en/10744.htm and the letter from President Ken Lewenza to MP Ben Lobb at: http://www.caw.ca/assets/pdf/lobb-wind_turbine.pdf
Policy Horizons Canada has published a thought piece based on the key question: “What are the federal policy implications of increasing interest in reconciling economic growth, environmental sustainability and prosperity?”. Factors considered were environmental pressures, consumer values, population growth, technological change, and supply and demand of natural resources. The four scenarios developed and explained in an appendix are: 1) Muddling through 2) Gradual progress 3) Slow decline, and 4) Transformation. Leading the Pack or Lagging Behind: A Foresight Study on Environmental Sustainability and Competitiveness is available at: http://www.horizons.gc.ca/doclib/2011-0092_eng.pdf.
At a Trades Union Congress conference in the U.K. in January, The New Green Team was released. Researched and written by the Association for Public Services Excellence (APSE) for UNISON, the report was based on extensive interviews with local authorities. The research found “there is potential for huge expansion in new jobs and skills include Green Finance, Green Law, Architecture, Research and Development, Engineering, Assembly Technicians, Installation Technicians, Carpentry, Plumbing and Repair and Maintenance jobs”. The document is available at: http://www.apse.org.uk/page-flips/2011/the-new-green-team/index.html.
The Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA), released on January 25, 2012 , is a 1,000 page document examining over 700 potential impacts of climate change in a UK context. Detailed analysis was undertaken for over 100 of these impacts across 11 key sectors. The report identifies the huge economic risks that will result from climate impacts, including spiraling insurance costs and increasing difficulty in obtaining mortgages as flood risk increases. The report cites tourism as one of the UK sectors likely to benefit, but warns that “the threats outweigh the opportunities”. The Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) and supporting documents are available at the website of the U.K. Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climate/government/risk-assessment/