A new report from Greenpeace Canada projects that “Alberta has the potential to create over one hundred and forty-five thousand new jobs — 46,780 jobs in renewable energy, 68,400 jobs in energy efficiency, and 30,000-40,000 jobs in mass transit.” 100,000+ Jobs: Getting Albertans back to Work by building a Low-Carbon Future (April 22), aims to “spark a creative conversation” by providing very specific examples of job creation opportunities by sector and across sectors, and calls for policy changes and actions to diversify the economy. The Alberta Green Economy Network and Gridworks Energy Group also cooperated on the report. A poll taken by the Alberta Green Economy Network shows that 58% of Albertans want the carbon revenues announced in the recent budget to be directed toward green projects (28% want the money to be invested in research to reduce emissions from fossil fuel companies).
On the ground, a group of oil sands workers have banded together as “Iron and Earth”, to help laid-off workers transition to the renewable energy sector. Their website states : “ Together we can encourage more sustainable carbon-based extraction and build the renewable energy infrastructure we need to both meet the demands of consumers and diversify our energy economy so it isn’t so reliant on the boom and bust associated to a single resource.” Its first project is a “Solar Skills” campaign to retrain 1,000 laid-off electricians from Alberta’s oil industry, to help build 100 solar installations on public buildings throughout the province. The group, mostly in Alberta but also including members from Atlantic Canada, states that it is non-partisan; it seeks supporters, donations, and possible partnerships with unions, including the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, as well as corporations. See “Amid Price Plunge, North American Oil and Gas Workers Seek Transition to Renewable Sector” from Truthout; Iron and Earth and the dilemma of Alberta’s energy economy are presented in “Does National Unity Have to be a Casualty of Canada’s Energy Debate?” at DeSmog Blog (April 4).