Greentech Lead America: WWF has selected the top five
game changers that point the direction for a cleaner, greener Canada.
1. Ontario’s Green Energy Act
Ontario’s Green Energy Act was introduced in 2009,
a policy aimed at energy conservation, expanding renewable energy creation and
building a green energy industry in the province. This policy, coupled with the
ongoing coal phase out in Ontario, was the single biggest action taken to
reduce North American emissions in the past five years.
2. Electric cars in the hands of Canadians
The introduction of electric vehicles to the Canadian
marketplace, backed by provincial support, will help encourage Canadians to
purchase cleaner car technology. So far, Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia
have introduced rebate programs for electric vehicles. Quebec’s is the most
generous, with $50 million earmarked for the program over the next few years.
While there are still strides to be made in developing the infrastructure to
support these vehicles, they represent a radical shift away from fossil-fuel
cars, and are one part of a shift to sustainable transportation.
3. British Columbia and Quebec put a price on
In 2008, British Columbia introduced a carbon tax, a
landmark decision that saw the province apply the tax to all fossil fuels,
including gasoline, diesel, coal, natural gas, propane and home heating fuel.
To- date, the tax has resulted in a 3 per cent reduction in BC’s gasoline
consumption. Quebec has also taken leadership on carbon, having adopted a cap
and trade system for greenhouse gas emissions to begin by 2013.
4. Investment in renewable energy overtakes fossil
2011 marked a major global milestone for renewable
energy – for the first time, investment in renewable energy sources was higher
than investment in fossil fuels. Savvy investors have realized that the next
big opportunity is in renewable energy, not in oil, coal or gas. In Canada
alone, new financial investment in renewable energy rose 47 percent in a single
year, from 2009 to 2010.
5. 50 percent of the Canadian population now lives
in a city or town that has a climate action plan
Municipalities across Canada are leading the way in
commitments to cut emissions and take action on climate change. Vancouver has
boldly pledged to be the greenest city in the world by 2020. Canadians can feel
proud that half of us live in a place where our local governments are showing
real leadership by measuring their greenhouse gas emissions, setting targets
for cutting these emissions and committing to hard-hitting action plans that
will deliver results on climate change.
THE NEXT FIVE YEARS
WWF has pinpointed its top five climate and energy goals
for the next five years:
* Put a price on pollution – Canada needs an energy
strategy that puts a price on carbon and other emissions, eliminates fossil
fuel subsidies and transitions the country from fossil fuels to renewable
* Phase out coal – we have the capability to phase
out coal-generated power within the next five years, which would have a
significant impact on our emissions.
* Lead the world in renewable energy innovation –
Canada has a vast amount of untapped renewable energy which could make us a
world leader in clean energy innovation and exports. Provinces can help make
this happen by creating good renewable energy policy. Canada should make the
move to remove all remaining subsidies to the coal, oil and gas sectors.
* Invest in upgrading our public infrastructure –
outdated infrastructure leads to an incredible amount of energy waste, from the
electricity used to push water through old pipes and sewers, to the energy loss
through 50-year old hydro systems. We urgently need to upgrade to new
infrastructure that is capable of connecting to smart grids and renewable
* Make the switch to electric vehicles – company
and municipal fleets should be switched to electric vehicles, which will also
help to encourage the development of the necessary infrastructure to support
these vehicles across the country.