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Cutting Oil and Gas Incentives Would Create Thousands of Clean Energy Jobs, Says Report

Environment  (tags: green, energy, environment, climate-change, climatechange, CO2emissions, globalwarming, globalwarming, pollution, Sustainabililty, science, Canada, Harper, Kent, Oliver, Flaherty )

- 2062 days ago -
The Canadian government could create 18,000 jobs if it removed existing tax incentives for oil and gas companies, and invested the money instead in industries that reduce pollution, says a report released by an alliance of labour and environmental groups.

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Michael O (176)
Sunday November 25, 2012, 12:46 pm
By Mike De Souza, Postmedia News

The analysis immediately prompted an industry spokesman to respond by noting that oil and gas companies were responsible for hundreds of thousands of high-paying jobs through private sector investments, while contributing billions of dollars to government coffers in tax revenues and royalty payments.

The industry’s main lobby group, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, also said that subsidies for alternative forms of energy would not be economically responsible.

But the 30-page report – called More Bang for our Buck – based its estimates on previously published studies about the economic benefits of investments in energy efficiency, home retrofits, and emerging energy sectors such as wind and solar power.

It also quoted Alberta government statistics to make the case that existing tax incentives, estimated to be worth about $1.3 billion per year and described in internal federal government correspondence as subsidies, are responsible for up to about 2,900 jobs in the fossil fuel industry.

“Canada will continue to produce and use oil for some time to come, and that will have some economic benefits,” said the report, co-signed by labour groups such as the United Steelworkers as well as environmental groups such as the Alberta-based Pembina Institute and Toronto-based Environmental Defence. “But it’s the wrong direction if we hope to tap into a growing share of the jobs and opportunity of the global transition towards renewable energy.”

The estimates from the report include both direct and indirect jobs created by investments.

Scientific evidence published in peer-reviewed journals demonstrates that human activity is contributing to the planet’s warming climate, mainly through land-use changes and the consumption of fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal that produce heat-trapping pollution.

The report noted that the warning signs from recent climate-related events such as melting Arctic sea ice and record-breaking heat show that the need to get serious about global warming is clear.

The alliance, which calls itself Blue Green Canada, also targeted unregulated expansion in Alberta’s oilsands industry, considered by the federal government to be the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas pollution in Canada, as the wrong approach forward.

“The oil industry’s plan to dramatically increase oil production will lead Canada in the wrong direction if we want to reduce pollution, ensure a healthy planet for our children and take advantage of the financial benefits of the renewable energy sector,” said the report. “While jobs will be created through oil sands expansion, the pace of development, as well as the location and type of jobs created, are not in the best interests of Canadian workers.”

The report also noted recent statements from the Alberta government highlighting concerns about future markets for heavy oil, in a context where other countries are transitioning to energy with a lower global warming footprint.

Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent said earlier this week that he was convinced climate change was a “real and present danger” that the government needed to address.

Travis Davies, a spokesman for the industry, noted that oil and gas companies support energy conservation initiatives and that they are focused on finding new ways to improve efficiency and productivity.

“Our ambitions are driven by free-market principles – such as global competitiveness – and not artificial subsidization,” Davies said Wednesday after reviewing an advance copy of the report. “Using less and producing more simply makes good business sense.”

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver was told in internal briefing notes from May 2011 that a $6.5 trillion green energy revolution was sweeping the planet and threatening to leave behind economies such as Canada if they are too focused on fossil fuel development.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was also urged in a 2010 internal memo, leaked to Postmedia News, to phase out existing subsidies for fossil fuels in order to honour a commitment made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper at a previous G20 meeting.

Although Flaherty rejected the advice at the time, he has subsequently announced the cancellation of some incentive measures in recent budgets. Kent and other ministers in the Harper government have also said that the government remains committed to phasing out the incentives.

In recent correspondence with an environmental advocacy group – We are Power Shift Canada – Flaherty noted the economic importance of the oil and gas industry, while agreeing that more work needed to be done to honour the G20 commitment.

“Rest assured, we will continually look for ways to further support global environmental commitments and eliminate inefficient fossil fuel subsidies,” Flaherty wrote in an email sent on Oct. 26. “Beyond our recent steps… to remove fossil fuel subsidies, we are also taking action through the tax system to encourage clean energy investments.”

MmAway M (507)
Sunday November 25, 2012, 12:59 pm
Thank you Michael! Noted

Aaron Bouchard (158)
Sunday November 25, 2012, 3:25 pm
Noted thank you

Freya H (358)
Sunday November 25, 2012, 3:42 pm
No matter what, we need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and get more and more of our energy from clean, renewable resources.

Terry V (30)
Sunday November 25, 2012, 5:02 pm

Earth Cry

Planet Earth is Dying

Daniel Partlow (179)
Sunday November 25, 2012, 7:50 pm
We need to JUST DO IT!!

Frans Badenhorst (582)
Monday November 26, 2012, 1:39 am
the fossil fuel - well WILL dry up sometime.... everybody knows that, right?????

Danuta W (1251)
Monday November 26, 2012, 2:37 am

Gloria p (304)
Monday November 26, 2012, 2:54 am
Far out!

Past Member (0)
Monday November 26, 2012, 4:52 am
Thanks, noted.

Theodore Shayne (56)
Monday November 26, 2012, 6:02 am
So would creating a WPA style program to clean up the environment in all aspects.

Ben O (142)
Monday November 26, 2012, 6:13 am
...And, imagine how many jobs it could create Worldwide...

Jo S (0)
Monday November 26, 2012, 6:42 am

Julie P (154)
Monday November 26, 2012, 7:17 am
“Canada currently gives $1.4 billion in subsidies to fossil fuel corporations through annual direct and indirect transfer of funds and liabilities or foregone government revenue. The federal government is phasing out the accelerated capital cost allowance for the tar sands, which currently costs taxpayers about $300 million per year. The remaining six targeted federal subsidies make up about $840 million annually in foregone tax revenue. The majority of these are designed to reduce the costs of exploration and development.”


Nation Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy - Annual budget $5 million - will be eliminated as of March 31, 2013.

The Experimental Lakes Area - Annual budget of $2 million -. Funding cut effective March 2013.

"Canada’s Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) is a unique, irreplaceable program for research on water quality and fisheries─ it is the only place in the world where we can perform experiments on whole lakes. Located in northwestern Ontario, the ELA consists of 58 small lakes and their watersheds that have been set aside for research. Since 1968, this facility has been a natural outdoor laboratory to study the physical, chemical, and biological processes in actual lake ecosystems...

Research at ELA makes crucial contributions to environmental policy and law in Canada and around the world.

It addresses real-world problems and solutions with the goal of providing advice to policy-makers and industry on issues such as:
◦Strategies for combating harmful algal blooms
◦Regulation of air pollution to reduce acid rain
◦Designing reservoirs to minimize greenhouse gases
◦Effectiveness of proposed measures to lower mercury contamination in fish
◦Environmental impacts of aquaculture and escaped genetically-modified fish
◦Impacts of hormones present in sewage effluent on fish health
◦Evidence that flame retardants degrade into banned toxic chemicals
◦Toxicity of antimicrobial nanoparticles ─ commonly used in clothing ─ to aquatic life"


PEARL (Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory) - Annual budget $1.5 million

"PEARL is Canada’s most northerly civilian research station and has been operating continuously since 2005. Without PEARL there will be no continuous active measurements in the High Arctic of many atmospheric properties scientists believe greatly affect our planet. As of April 30, 2012, PEARL will cease full-time year-round operation. PEARL requires approximately $1.5-million per year to operate. A significant portion of PEARL’s research funding had previously been provided through the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, but federal funding for the Foundation has ceased."


David C (120)
Monday November 26, 2012, 7:55 am
.....we could save jobs and work to save the world!.....awesome..

Cheryl B (64)
Monday November 26, 2012, 8:27 am
thanks for telling the world

Robert O (12)
Monday November 26, 2012, 12:33 pm
Thanks Michael.

Christeen A (371)
Monday November 26, 2012, 12:58 pm
Sounds good to me. Whatever works.

David Menard (43)
Monday November 26, 2012, 1:13 pm
Lets see if any of the reports recommendations are implemented before we celebrate.

Past Member (0)
Monday November 26, 2012, 1:37 pm
Clean energy will produce vastly more jobs - as well as saving the Earth.

Melania P (122)
Monday November 26, 2012, 1:51 pm
No doubt!

Anthony Hilbert (6)
Monday November 26, 2012, 2:05 pm
This is a no-brainer. Money talks, and so long as government money says "oil," that's what we will have.

Funny how the small-government people never complain about this "state interference."

Joseph Gregory Paquette (1)
Monday November 26, 2012, 2:29 pm
Noted, signed, & twitter entry made

Ann Breeden (65)
Monday November 26, 2012, 4:07 pm
Thanks for this article. Maybe it should be sent to all that attended the G20 and see if the other guy's going to beat them to the punch.
We need green energy now!

Past Member (0)
Monday November 26, 2012, 5:52 pm
Cut subsidies for cattle industry, too, while we are talking about saving Earth and going green. We must stop buying animal products so that forests can return, indigenous life restored to the balance it was 200 years ago and prior, acidification of oceans, excrement in rivers, "cides" / GMOS, all of the pollutants will end for air, soil, waters.

Stella Gamboni (17)
Monday November 26, 2012, 7:17 pm
I had a brilliant comment to add here but, while typing, I happened to hit Delete and now can't remember what I was saying.

Sandra M Z (114)
Monday November 26, 2012, 8:04 pm
Switch to Green jobs!

Noted, Thank you Cher.

Don Schwarz (5)
Monday November 26, 2012, 8:35 pm
Thank you!

Tamara Mendelson (1)
Monday November 26, 2012, 8:38 pm
Huh go figure

irene davis (74)
Monday November 26, 2012, 11:04 pm
"...would not be economically responsible".- for who?

Colleen L (3)
Tuesday November 27, 2012, 1:23 am
Good article. Thanks Michael

Marilyn L (107)
Tuesday November 27, 2012, 2:02 pm
Sure they create jobs, etc....but they alos harm the enviornment. So why not use their R & D money to find new energy sources.

Dianne D (490)
Tuesday November 27, 2012, 2:38 pm
Let's do it. Down with the oil and coal companies. Some commenters said they signed a petition but I didn't see one.

Aletta Kraan (146)
Tuesday November 27, 2012, 8:02 pm
Noted , thanks , why wreck the landscape when there are different means available ?

Yvonne Taylor (37)
Wednesday November 28, 2012, 10:37 am
The same scenario for USA. Green star sent to Julie P for good info.

Carmen S (611)
Thursday November 29, 2012, 6:20 pm
Thanks MIchael, clean energy and green jobs will benefit everyone.
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