THE BLOG

The Pathway to Climate Leadership is Paved with Solar Not Tarsands

07/08/2015 05:57 EDT | Updated 07/08/2016 05:59 EDT

Dear Premier Rachel Notley,

I wanted to start by commending you for supporting the call for an inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. We have lost too many of our sisters, mothers, and friends with no explanation and I thank you for trying to shine the light of justice where it needs it most.

I also want to commend you on your steps to remove the influence of money in our electoral system and in starting to establish a progressive system of taxation within the province.

All of these moves are steps in the right direction, which is why I'm so confused by your statements on the climate.

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At the same time that you talk about wanting Alberta to be a climate leader you talk about expanding pipelines and building new refineries.

Alberta can't have it both ways. You can't double down on one of the nations largest sources of carbon emissions and still be a leader on the climate. Climate leaders listen to science and reduce emissions - they don't accelerate them.

Over 100 scientists, in an unprecedented joint statement, called for an end to new tar sands construction because of the impacts the project is already having on the climate, the land, the water and surrounding communities. The scientists said very clearly Alberta and the planet simply can't take more.

Twenty-five thousand people marched in Quebec City to say no to new pipelines. British Columbia's 'Wall of Opposition' to the tar sands isn't in favour of more refineries. They want healthy communities, healthy lands and waters and an economy that doesn't sacrifice the rights of Indigenous Nations or the environments.

The tar sands are a resource Alberta needs to be moving away from not deeper into. Building new pipelines and refineries is not only a bad decision now but it locks Alberta into bad decisions for decades to come.

Rather than spending taxpayer dollars subsidizing polluters, creating more toxic communities and deepening the problem, what if Alberta put those resources towards real solutions and created tens of thousands of jobs in the process?

Alberta has some of the best wind and solar resources in the world. We have loads of geothermal potential just waiting to be tapped. Our cities are crying out for more sustainable transportation funding and for decades governments have talked about a high-speed rail line between Calgary and Edmonton.

These are real solutions.

They are solutions that diversify our economy, address the threats of climate change, create jobs and allow Alberta to be a leader - all without sacrificing health, or our environment to do it.

That's the way to be a climate leader.

The choice is yours Premier Notley. The world is waiting for your answer.

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Global Clean Energy Job statistics:

  • Denmark's wind energy sector already employs over 30,000 people.
  • California's solar industry employs over 54, 000.
  • Germany's renewable sector employs over 370,000 people.
  • Globally, there are an estimated 7.7 million green jobs.
  • The U.S. plans to invest7.4 billion in programs promoting clean energy technology. China is investing128 billion in their rail system in 2015.
  • The European Union plans to triple the length of their high speed rail network by 2030. These investments will create hundreds of thousands of jobs worldwide.