For immediate release.
Ottawa/Vancouver/Montreal – With President Joe Biden visiting Ottawa tomorrow, 26 environmental organizations, representing millions of Canadians, are launching 2% for Our Future to urge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to join the U.S. in the net-zero race to the top by accelerating climate investments.
With the Inflation Reduction Act, the United States announced a historic USD $370 billion in climate investments to lower energy bills, shore up supply chains, boost productivity and create jobs. In contrast, Canada is one of the lowest investors in the G20 in renewables.
Canada’s federal budget, expected next Tuesday, offers a chance to finally provide the climate investments needed to lower Canadians’ rising energy bills, create jobs and build a thriving clean economy. Without these investments, Canada risks being left behind as the world pivots to low-carbon energy sources.
That’s why today, environmental organizations are launching 2% for Our Future to urge the federal government to invest 2% of Canada’s GDP over five years into climate investments, including public transit, retrofitting homes and buildings, renewable energy infrastructure and more. New data from economic consulting firm Vivic Research shows that by 2028 this investment would generate over 225,000 jobs in sectors that include transportation, renewable energy, construction, manufacturing and other industries in Canada.
“Canada should take a page out of the U.S. and invest in climate to de-couple our economy and our bills from volatile oil and gas prices,” says François Delorme, professor at Sherbrooke University’s Economics Department and former senior official at the Department of Finance.
Between 2018-2020, Canada gave 14.5 times more financial support to the fossil fuel sector than clean energy. Recent polling by Clean Energy Canada found two thirds of Canadians think that a clean energy system would be more affordable and more secure than a fossil fuel energy system. Canada currently invests just 0.5% of GDP in climate action.
“Poll after poll shows Canadians support climate investments. Will Minister Freeland deliver what Canadians want – transformational climate investments that make our lives more affordable, boost productivity, create jobs, make our country more equitable and respond at scale to the convergence of crises we are facing?” says Caroline Brouillette, Acting Executive Director of Climate Action Network – Réseau action climat Canada (CAN-Rac).
Details on how 2 cents out from every dollar of national income could enable Canada to build a thriving net-zero economy are in the recent report, Spending What it Takes: Transformational climate investments for long-term prosperity in Canada released by CAN-Rac and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).
Canadians are already experiencing climate impacts. The 2022 Lancet Countdown report found heat-related deaths in Canada climbed 72% between 2000-2004 and 2017-2021. In 2021, Canadians lost nearly 43 million potential labour hours to heat exposure. That same year, 619 people in B.C died due to a heatwave.
“The IPCC report released this week underlined that leaders must act swiftly to reduce global dependence on fossil fuels in order to avoid climate catastrophes. When will Canada finally provide the funds required to transform our economy, lower energy bills and build a safe, affordable and thriving future for all Canadians?” says Juan Vargas, Alberta-based climate organizer for the Youth Climate Corps.
Not acting on climate is estimated to cost Canada $25 billion in GDP losses between 2015-2025. Without action to address global warming, Canada would face estimated annual costs of up to $43 billion by the 2050s. That means even more Canadians would experience climate impacts — more homes lost, more casualties, and livelihoods uprooted due to heatwaves, floods, wildfires.
“Canada needs to demonstrate that it values a healthy climate, good jobs and an economy that works for everyone. Climate solutions like achieving 100% clean, renewable power for all by 2035 will bring real benefits to communities in terms of affordability, health, jobs and more. We need federal investment to unlock the full scope of those benefits,” says Stephen Thomas, Clean Energy Manager, David Suzuki Foundation.
Experts in Europe and the U.S. agree Canada should step into the net-zero race.
“Decarbonising our economies requires massive investments in all regions of the world. It would be good news for everyone if the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act is a collective stimulus for achieving net zero and increasing investment in clean energy in Europe and Canada, provided that developing countries are not left behind,” says Mathilde Dupré, co-director of the Paris-based Veblen Institute for Economic Reform.
Max Gruenig, Senior Policy Advisor at independent climate change think tank E3G, says, “The government of Canada would be smart to come forward with their own net-zero industry program to incentivize investments in cleantech manufacturing and uptake across a broad range of sectors and clean technologies, creating a market for zero emissions goods and services, securing new skilled jobs and economic opportunity for all Canadians in a fair and equitable way. After the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act and the EU Green Deal Industrial Plan and Net-Zero Industry Act, it is clear that leading economies are positioning themselves to become leaders in the net-zero emissions future. The window of opportunity is open now and it is up to Prime Minister Trudeau to seize this historic opportunity in 2023.”
The 2% for Our Future campaign is endorsed by Action Environnement Basses-Laurentides, AQOCI – Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale, Climate Action Network – Réseau action climat Canada, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Canadian Health Association for Sustainability & Equity (CHASE), Canadian Interfaith Fast For the Climate, Chase Environmental Action Group, Climate Emergency Unit, Climate Reality Canada, Conservation Council of New Brunswick, Le Centre Oblat: A Voice for Justice, David Suzuki Foundation, Ecology Action Centre, Environmental Defence, Équiterre, For Our Kids, Fridays For Future Qualicum, Green 13 Toronto, Green Economy Network, Iron and Earth, Leadnow, Music Declares Emergency Canada, ORCIE (Office of Religious Congregations for Integral Ecology), Protect Our Winters, Sectoral Arts Leadership for the Emergency (SCALE), and Stand.earth.
Canada’s farthest-reaching network of organizations working on climate and energy issues, Climate Action Network – Réseau action climat (CAN-Rac) Canada is a coalition of 150 organizations operating from coast to coast to coast. Our membership brings environmental groups together with trade unions, First Nations, social justice, development, health and youth organizations, faith groups and local, grassroots initiatives.
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:
Vicky Coo, Communications Lead