It’s high time Canada had an energy strategy.
In recent months, there has been a lot of talk about the need for a Canadian energy strategy. This conversation is long overdue.
Canada is blessed with an abundance of energy resources. How we manage these resources impacts both our economy and our environment.
And now, with the world’s energy systems undergoing an unparalleled transformation, it is imperative that we be strategic about how we produce and use energy.
We need an energy strategy that, first and foremost, ensures Canadians can access safe and secure sources of energy. Energy that doesn’t disrupt our climate or pollute our air. Energy from renewable sources like solar, from technologies that, once built, generate for free.
Our energy strategy must address climate change and speed our transition away from fossil fuels. Energy is responsible for 80 per cent of our climate-changing emissions. How else can we address these emissions if not through an energy strategy?
We need a strategy that allows us to tap into the new jobs and growth stemming from one of the fastest growing sectors of the global economy: renewable energy and other clean technologies. The global market for these goods and services is projected to grow from $1 trillion per year now to upwards of $2 trillion by 2020. The transition to a green economy is estimated to create up to 60 million new jobs over the next two decades.
Canada can capture a sizable share of this market. But we must have a sensible strategy in order to do so.
Our strategy must also address transportation. We need to ease gridlock and increase efficiency in order to generate prosperity, reduce pollution and foster livable communities.
And we must pay much more attention to greater efficiency across the board. Through increased efficiency we can save Canadians money, reduce emissions and create decent jobs.
We know fossil fuels such as oil are important to our economy. And we know that they will continue to be important for years to come. But times are changing.
The global appetite for energy will continue to soar as billions more people come online in the years to come. At the same time, the environmental crisis, and especially climate change, has become impossible to ignore.
The signs of stress are everywhere. And in the face of such volatility, it is unwise to double down on a single resource, and pin our economic and environmental futures to it. Especially when there is another option -- one that would create new jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect our air, land and water, and position Canada to thrive in a changing world.
Our choice is not whether to act, but when to act. And, in short, sooner would be better. The costs of inaction rise with every passing day, while the opportunity to show leadership is closing.
The decisions we make over the next few years are of tremendous importance. It is crucial we get them right.
The world is changing. Canadians are ready. We need a strategy to accelerate that change, not delay it.