OTTAWA – More than 880,000 Canadians work in industries that are at risk of decline or closure in the global transition to clean energy, a new analysis says.
The Canadian Institute for Climate Choice is warning in its publication Sink or Swim that there could be disastrous consequences if these industries and federal and provincial governments do not acknowledge that change is coming and prepare for it.
“This transition is coming despite decisions in Ottawa or even at provincial levels,” said Dale Beugin, vice president of research at the institute.
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“This transition is coming from factors beyond Canada’s control. So really, what can this country do and what can we do at all orders of the government to prepare ourselves for the change that is sweeping our shores? Forging his own path, no matter what.”
The report identifies several vulnerable sectors supporting oil and gas extraction and industries that support emissions-intensive manufacturing, transportation, equipment manufacturing, mining and quarrying.
It says, however, that some companies have an opportunity to be successful if they adjust their practices and outputs – for example, auto plants to switch to making electric vehicles or emissions-intensive manufacturers to switch to cleaner fuel sources and Technology upgrades are involved. more efficient.
Other sectors, such as oil and gas, require government support to relocate workers to industries that will survive longer, including job creation and training schemes.
The report said there is no province with workers who are not going to be affected, although Alberta carries the highest risk with more than nine percent of its workforce employed in vulnerable areas. Saskatchewan is next at six percent.
Ontario, with its large population, has a higher workforce overall, but five percent of its workforce is in vulnerable sectors, mostly manufacturing.
There are nine Canadian cities with populations over 10,000,
Where one in 10 jobs depend on a weak sector. Another 22 cities of that size have five to 10 percent of their workforce in vulnerable industries, and three percent of their workers in 39 cities are employed in vulnerable sectors.
“Three broad trends are converging in ways that make the global low-carbon transition inevitable,” said Rachel Samson, the institute’s director of clean development research.
First, 60 countries, including Canada, have committed to net-zero emissions by 2050. Those countries represent 70 percent of global GDP, more than 70 percent of global oil demand, and 55 percent of global oil and gas demand.
At the same time, Samson said investors are “wake up” to the climate risks associated with their investments, with 120 international investors representing 40 percent of global managed assets, who are also committed to net zero.
Some are already pulling their investments from high-carbon projects and industries.
Finally, she said there is technology available that is making it easier than ever for countries and investors to adhere to their net-zero goals.
The report outlines four recommendations to help prevent Canada from completely lagging behind in the transition to a clean-energy economy.
This includes placing greater emphasis on the long-term competitive effects of policies rather than short-term effects, and redirecting tax incentives away from shrinking industries and toward clean technology and development.
It states that all policies must take into account the impact of the change on workers and families and provide support, job creation and training programs to bring them to the other side.
And finally, it says there should be better data for workers and investors alike on the risks associated with climate change.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on October 21, 2021.