The latest report from ECO Canada, Green Jobs Map, focuses on “the major contributing industries in the Canadian green economy, essential green competencies within these industries, and the requisite green skills and training that professionals need in order to work in these particular occupations.” The report makes a distinction between those jobs that are linked to a green economy and also require environmental skills (which is the focus), and the larger universe of jobs that are found in green industries, sectors and companies, but do not require special environmental skills (which are not included). The report is based on analysis of 835 job postings, drawn from a database of online job vacancy advertisements throughout Canada, appearing from March through May 2012.
A separate, supplementary report developed in partnership with Toronto-based Evergreen uses the same database to focus on Ontario’s green economy and finds, for example, that 58% of green job opening were at private sector employers. Amongst those companies, 67%of the green job postings were at environmental consulting, engineering or architectural firms.
Supplementary Report: Ontario is available at the Evergreen website at:
GreenBiz Group has published the 2013 edition of the State of the Profession, which provides a snapshot of the current status of Sustainability Vice-Presidents, Managers, and staff – although the report points out that there is, as yet, no clear-cut definition of either the term or the role. As in the previous two years, the document reports on the salaries and job content of sustainability managers and executives, but this year’s also discusses the training and educational background of incumbents, internal promotion vs. recruitment as a source of talent, reporting relationships, budgets, and the future of the role in organizations. It also highlights the position of the “energy manager”. Data for the survey was collected from July 26 to August 10, 2012 from the 4,207 members of the GreenBiz Intelligence Panel. The response rate was 12.7%, with 73% of those responses from job holders in large organizations (those with revenues of over $1 billion); 93% were from the U.S., 2.4% from Canada, and the remainder from the U.K. and 11 other countries.
State of the Profession 2013 edition
by GreenBiz Group is available at:
Based on interviews with executives and analysis of public disclosure documents, Power Forward: Why the World’s Largest Companies are Investing in Renewable Energy states that clean energy practices are becoming standard procedures for some of the largest and most profitable companies in the world, including AT&T, DuPont, General Motors, HP, Sprint, and Walmart. 96 companies from the combined 173 companies in the Fortune 100 and Global 100 have set formal renewable energy commitments, and/or greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction commitments. Barriers and challenges to the use of renewable energy are identified, and the report offers several recommendations for policymakers, including promoting tax credits or other incentives for renewable energy, removing policy hurdles, and market-based solutions that put a price on the pollution from conventional energy generation. The report was released in early December 2012 by Calvert Investments, Ceres and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
A recent research report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Protect Our Winters (POW) looks at the direct economic impact of climate change on the winter tourism industry in the USA. A new economic analysis details how the $12.2 billion winter tourism industry across 38 states has experienced an estimated $1 billion loss and up to 27,000 fewer jobs over the last decade due to diminished snow fall patterns and the resulting changes in the outdoor habits of Americans. In addition to tourism, snow-based recreation in the United States has been estimated to contribute $67 billion annually to the U.S. economy and supports over 600,000 jobs. Climate change will spell trouble for all businesses dependent on winter weather from snowmobiling, snowboarding, and ice fishing to snowshoeing and skiing — as well as the other related sectors that depend on winter sports tourists, such as restaurants, lodging, gas stations, grocery stores, and bars.
Two recent surveys consider Canadians’ attitudes toward climate change and Ontario’s green energy policies, respectively. As part of their Focus Canada series, Environics recently carried out a poll to consider the question “Climate Change: Do Canadians still care?” The survey is based on telephone interviews conducted with 1,500 Canadians between November 15 and December 5, 2012, and respondents were asked 5 questions.
A clear majority believe climate change is real, that government must take the lead role through new regulations, and that citizens like themselves must help pay for the necessary actions through taxes and higher prices for the goods and services they consume. 64% of British Columbians support their three-year old carbon tax, and there is clear support for this type of climate change tax in most other parts of the country.
A second opinion poll, commissioned by Friends of the Earth Canada and conducted by Oraclepoll Research, found that 83% of Ontarians believe it is important to have more renewable, green energy in Ontario to deal with climate change and help reduce record levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Only 11% of respondents believe that it is not important to take action. The survey also found that 73% of respondents feel that the WTO should not be able to override Ontario’s plans to encourage investment in green energy.
For Environics Focus Canada poll results, click here
Oraclepoll for Friends of the Earth Canada is available at:http://foecanada.org/en/2012/12/results-of-the-ontario-green-energy-opinion-poll/
The official report of a 3-member dispute panel of the World Trade Organization was released on December 14th, and ruled that the local content regulations of Ontario’s Feed-in Tariff program violate two of the three conventions that the European Union and Japan had cited in their complaint of 2011: specifically, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and Trade-Related Investment Measures Agreement (TRIM). The federal government has announced that it will appeal the decision on Ontario’s behalf, but investment in renewable energy manufacturing in Ontario is expected to suffer in the interim. Read the full decision and all accompanying documentation at the World Trade Organization website:Dispute 426, Measures Relating to the Feed-in Tariff Programat: http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/cases_e/ds426_e.htm; Reaction to the decision is summarized in “Canada to appeal WTO ruling on energy program” in the Globe and Mail, December 19th at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/canada-to-appeal-wto-ruling-on-energy-program/article6558522/.
Quebec announced new regulations on December 13 aimed at harmonizing Quebec’s cap-and-trade system with California’s in 2013, operating within the Western Climate Initiative. Approximately 85 industrial locations in Quebec belonging to 60 companies will be part of the new cap-and-trade system, beginning in January 2013. The minister responsible stated, “I am confident that we will see a full linkage of the Québec and California markets during spring 2013 in anticipation of the first joint auction planned for August, 2013. Québec and California have agreed to work together closely so that Canadian provinces and U.S. states join the market.” See the Government press release of December 13 at:http://www.mddep.gouv.qc.ca/communiques_en/2012/c20121213-carbone.htm (English) and http://www.mddefp.gouv.qc.ca/infuseur/communique.asp?no=2301 (French), with more details at: http://www.mddep.gouv.qc.ca/changements/carbone/Systeme-plafonnement-droits-GES-en.htm (English), http://www.mddep.gouv.qc.ca/changements/carbone/index.htm(French).
Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) announced on December 17th that it is accepting feedback on “the regulation of future unconventional resource development” until March 31, 2013. In its discussion paper, the ERCB has suggested a new regulatory approach that includes moving from well-by-well regulation to “play-focused regulation”, i.e. regulation focused on development within a defined area. Outcomes to be regulated include “public safety, water protection, air quality, waste management, surface impacts, resource conservation, and orderly development”. See the press release and backgrounder at: http://www.ercb.ca/about-us/media-centre/news-releases/2012/nr2012-13. The discussion paper, Regulating Unconventional Oil and Gas in Alberta, is at: http://www.ercb.ca/about-us/media-centre/news-releases/2012/nr2012-13.
Ontario’s Minister of Energy announced on January 9th that the government will accelerate its program to close its coal-fired electricity plants, and that Lambton and Nanticoke, the last of the lot, will close by the end of 2013. The press release refers to a 2005 independent cost-benefit study which estimated that this will save approximately $4.4 billion annually when health and environmental costs are taken into consideration. In a related document: the Union of Concerned Scientists in the U.S. recently released a report on coal-plants in the U.S. Ripe for Retirement: The Case for Closing America’s Costliest Coal Plants estimates that as many as 353 coal-fired power generators in 31 states should be closed for economic reasons alone, even without considering the attendant benefits for public health and pollution reduction. Read the Ontario government press release at: http://news.ontario.ca/mei/en/2013/01/ontario-getting-out-of-coal-fired-generation.html.Ripe for Retirement is at: http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/smart-energy-solutions/decrease-coal/ripe-for-retirement-closing-americas-costliest-coal-plants.html.
ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies has published a special issue, edited by Kelvin Mason, about the Politics of Climate Change. (volume 12, #1, 2013).
There are nine articles; one, by Vinthagen of Sweden, argues that the natural sciences alone are not sufficient to understand and deal with the dangers of climate change, but also require analysis of political power relations and the global political economy. He proposes a role for academics in his article, “Ten theses on why we need a ‘Social Science Panel on Climate Change'” at: http://www.acme-journal.org/vol12/Vinthagen2013.pdf. The journal ACME is online at: http://www.acme-journal.org/Home.html; this latest issue will be posted shortly.
There are some hopeful signals that the second Obama administration will move climate change up on its priority list. Senator Barbara Boxer, a Democrat from California and Chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee publicly announced in December that she, along with the chairmen of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will co-chair a “clearinghouse” on climate: “We are going to review the latest information, we are going to work on supporting a major bill, we are also going to work on various smaller provisions that we think will move us forward and focus on green jobs, energy efficiency and making sure that we get the carbon out of the air, and work with the administration on some executive stuff.” See http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/273539-sen-boxer-firms-up-senate-climate-change-clearinghouse-plan. And some see Obama’s nomination of John Kerry as Secretary of State, known for his interest in climate change, as a signal that the issue will be given greater priority. See the L.A. Times article, “Kerry expected to elevate climate change as secretary of state” at: http://www.latimes.com/news/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-kerry-expected-to-elevate-climate-change-as-secretary-of-state-20121224,0,6445247.story