One could be forgiven for thinking climate change would be at the centre of the election. A decade of gutted environmental laws, unfettered fossil fuel expansion, missed carbon pollution reduction targets and a failure to capture the tangible benefits of shifting to cleaner energy production and use has not only lowered our collective expectations, but put us at the back of the pack globally.
Climate change is a critically important issue for the economy. The Clean Economy Alliance, which launched Wednesday, has united under some common principles to support Ontario's commitment to climate action and to make some suggestions for how the province should proceed. We've come together because addressing climate change can benefit our economy, and failing to address climate change would be very costly. Climate change has been called the single largest threat to the global economy, which is why the World Bank says a four-degree world must be avoided.
Though the B.C. government primarily sees China as a market for carbon-based fuels -- including the roughly eight million metric tonnes of thermal coal that pass through Port Metro Vancouver each year -- the opportunity to export clean energy products and services is enormous. This could be anything from small wind turbines made in Surrey to "energy intelligence" software developed in Vancouver.
In a recent poll Canadians cited the economy as their most pressing concern. There is mounting evidence a green economy would deliver greater economic growth and more jobs compared with continuing with business as usual. The green economy isn't just better for the environment; it's a better economy.
China's government has realized the importance of clean energy to the very survival and health of many thousands of citizens per year and the economy. China is now making huge strides to properly address it's environmental challenges and there is nothing stopping Canada from doing the same -- except ourselves.