Sustainable Prosperity, a research and policy network based at the University of Ottawa, released a policy brief in April discussing the domestic content requirements for renewable energy manufacturing in Canada. The policy brief focused on the question of whether domestic
content requirements are effective at increasing ‘green’ employment. The brief looks at various policies in effect in Canada (namely, Quebec and Ontario) and internationally, as well as international trade agreements relevant to domestic content requirements. At least in the short-run, domestic content requirements are likely to increase the cost of renewable energy generating equipment, and therefore also the developer’s cost of generating renewable energy. Depending on the type of renewable energy support policy with which the domestic content requirement is linked, this may have the effect of increasing consumers’ electricity prices, or reducing the number of renewable energy facilities built. In the last case, it is possible that the reduced renewable energy output leads to overall reductions in employment in renewable energy generation and manufacturing.
Sustainable Prosperity news release with link to policy brief:
The transformation to a greener economy could generate 15 to 60 million additional jobs globally over the next two decades and lift tens of millions of workers out of poverty, according to a new report led by the international Green Jobs Initiative. The study, Working Towards Sustainable Development: Opportunities for Decent Work and Social Inclusion in a Green Economy, says that these gains will depend on whether the right set of policies are put in place. At least half of the global workforce – the equivalent of 1.5 billion people – will be affected by the transition to a greener economy. This comprehensive report touches on specifics relating to eight key sectors which are expected to play a central role and be most affected by the transition: agriculture, forestry, fishing, energy, resource-intensive manufacturing, recycling, building and transport.
Summary and overview; Working Towards Sustainable Development: Opportunities for Decent Work and Social Inclusion in a Green Economy:
Sustainable Prosperity and the University of Ottawa’s Institute of the Environment marked the 20th anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit by presenting a two-day conference, on May 1st and 2nd “Building on Rio + 20: Canada’s Role and Priorities in a Global Green Economy”, to examine the policy and economic dimensions of Canada in a global green economy. A policy brief released at the conference looks at the vast gap between the level of action and commitment in the UK when compared to Canada in terms of climate policy at the national level. The UK has an aggressive and comprehensive action plan to decarbonise its economy, whereas Canada’s Federal government is pursuing a sector-by-sector regulatory approach, with fragmented action between the Federal government and the provinces.
The United Kingdom Climate Policy: Lessons for Canada. Summary and link to policy brief: http://www.sustainableprosperity.ca/article2716
Nova Scotia released its Marine Renewable Energy Strategy in May. Wave and offshore wind power are part of the mix in the strategy, but tides are the primary focus, given Nova Scotia’s unique advantage in developing and growing a new tidal industry. The Strategy focuses on research, development, and regulatory initiatives that have been established to achieve Nova Scotia’s vision to be a global leader in the development of marine renewable energy technology and expertise for domestic and export markets. This report doesn’t go into any detail about job creation.
Nova Scotia Department of Energy website:
Nova Scotia’s Marine Renewable Energy Strategy document:
Several recent studies have been in the news concerning the concept of “Dutch disease” in Canada.
Dutch Disease or Failure to Compete: A Diagnosis of Canada’s Manufacturing Woes, was published by the Institute for Research on Public Policy, and examines the linkages for 80 different manufacturing industries using an empirical model that accounts for changes in global demand and competitive pressures as well as energy-induced strengthening of the dollar. Their results show that only 25 of the 80 industries show a significant negative relationship between the US-Canada exchange rate and output – mostly small labour-intensive industries such as textiles and apparel. Interestingly in light of the recently announced layoffs at GM Oshawa, the study concludes that “automotive industries do not show symptoms of Dutch disease; their weakness stems from cyclical changes in demand and lagging productivity growth”.
The Pembina Institute and The Macdonald Laurier Institute both released their own studies on this issue on May 30. The Macdonald Laurier Institute has released a commentary titled, No Dutch Treat: Oil and Gas Wealth Benefits All of Canada. In this report, authors Robert Murphy and Brian Crowley argue that even provinces not directly involved in oil and gas enjoy large gains from such activity in other provinces.
The Pembina report, In the Shadow of the Boom: How oil sands development is reshaping Canada’s economy, reviews the extent to which oil sands production and exports are affecting Canada’s economy, and explores the longer-term economic implications of increased reliance on oil sands expansion to support economic growth and generate public revenue.
Dutch Disease or Failure to Compete? published by Institute for Research in Public Policy (IRPP): http://www.irpp.org/pubs/IRPPstudy/IRPP_Study_no30.pdf
No Dutch Treat:Oil and Gas Wealth Benefits All of Canada,
(MacDonald Laurier Study) press release and link to full document is at:
In the Shadow of the Boom: How oil sands development is reshaping Canada’s economy,
press release and link to document is at:
“Is Canada grappling with Dutch disease?” The Globe and Mail, May 16th:
Embracing sustainability has tangible financial rewards and creates jobs, according to a new report by the Health Care Research Collaborative. The report, Creating a Culture of Sustainability: Leadership, Coordination and Performance Measurement Systems in Healthcare, was conducted by the Health Care Research Collaborative, a collaboration of Health Care Without Harm and the Healthier Hospitals Initiative, and sponsored by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation in the U.S. The report found that leadership engagement and incorporation of sustainability as a high-level goal was key to the success of the program. Also found was that jobs are being created as health systems are finding that sustainability efforts need dedicated staff who are responsible for it, and cost savings inherent in sustainability help pay for these staff members as well as to make investments in other hospital programs.
Creating a Culture of Sustainability: Leadership, Coordination and Performance Measurement Systems in Healthcare. A summary of the report can be found at:
A new European Union Joint Research Centre (JRC) report provides key information for policy makers and business managers on how to assess the environmental impacts of products and services through more consistent and better quality life cycle assessments. Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) helps to assess the sustainability of supply chains, use, and end-of-life management options for goods and services. A key component of the Europe 2020 strategy, ‘life cycle thinking’ is being used to understand the full environmental impacts of products and services, from design through produce use and end-of-life.
European Commissions Life Cycle Thinking and Assessment website:
Joint Research Centre summary with links to the LCA report:
The UN Office of Disaster Risk Reduction has launched a new phase of the “Making Cities Resilient Campaign” which now includes 1,020 cities around the globe. The Handbook for Local Government Leaders: How to Make Cities More Resilient was officially launched as part of the world disaster reduction campaign, which has been extended to 2015. The new Handbook was developed at the request of city leaders to explain why building disaster resilience is necessary, and what kind of strategies and actions are required by cities and local governments to achieve resilience. Summary with links to the Handbook, press release and campaign information: http://www.unisdr.org/archive/26728
Students at the undergraduate level enrolled in the Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES) at York University in Toronto now have the option of pursuing a specialty Certificate in Sustainable Energy. This certificate program formally recognizes and integrates a suite of courses which offer BES students applied skills in the field of sustainable energy. For the Certificate in Sustainable Energy, students have the option of completing an internship placement with an organization in the sustainable energy field. At the graduate level, Master in Environmental Studies (MES) students develop their own unique areas of original research, with the possibility of internships in with both public and private organizations. The Certificate is part of the Sustainable Energy Initiative (SEI) in the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES).
For information on the Sustainable Energy Initiative and the Certificate in Sustainable Energy see the SEI website at: http://sei.info.yorku.ca/
Or the SEI brochure: http://sei.info.yorku.ca/files/2011/01/SEI-Brochure-web.pdf
Launched on May 7, Black Out Speak Out (or Silence, on parle! in French) invites Canadian organizations, businesses and citizens to darken their websites on June 4, to protest changes introduced in the federal government’s budget act (C-38). The Black Out Speak Out initiative is led by CAPE, CPAWS, David Suzuki Foundation, Ecojustice, Environmental Defence, Equiterre, Greenpeace, Nature Canada, Pembina Institute, Sierra Club Canada, West Coast Environmental Law, and WWF Canada. Go to Black Out Speak Out website at: http://www.blackoutspeakout.ca/ or http://www.silenceonparle.ca/
On May 29, the International Energy Association released a special World Energy Outlook Report on natural gas, including fracking. According to one of the authors, “If this new industry is to prosper, it needs to earn and maintain its social license to operate,” Golden Rules for a golden age of Gas is at: http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/goldenrules/