LASER TALK: A Clear Market Signal Needed to Create Clean Tech Jobs

LASER TALK: A Clear Market Signal Needed to Create Clean Tech Jobs

Numerous studies have shown that a shift to an economy based on renewable energy will result in a significant net gain in employment. An increasing number of clean energy jobs are created each year as investment in this sector have ramped up quickly in the last decade – at a time when well paid, full time jobs are hard to find,

    • Canada currently has more direct jobs in clean energy than in the oil sands – 50,000 people were employed directly in more than 800 clean technology firms – on par with the aerospace industry. [1] [2]
    • According to Dr. Mark Jacobson of Stanford University, transitioning to 100% renewable energy would create 293,000 construction and 463,000 full-time operation jobs over 40 year.[3][4]
    • In 2015 Canadian clean tech industry revenues grew at four times the rate of the overall Canadian economy, and consistently providing employment that is high skill and high wage.[2] Alberta is poised to create a substantial number of clean tech jobs as the province transitions electricity off coal – and could create 70,000 new jobs by 2024, easily offsetting the 65,000 jobs recently lost with the drop in the price of oil.[4]
    • If the current pace of postings hold, solar would become the largest market for energy jobs by the fourth quarter of 2016.[5]
    • A July 2017  report from the Columbia Institute says Canada could actually see a the creation of  nearly four million non-residential construction jobs over the next 33 years if  it moved towards a net zero-emissions economy by 2050.

The bad news is that Canada’s global share of international clean tech has been steadily declining by since 2008, and our global ranking fell from 14th to 19th.[2]

We can turn this around through steadily rising carbon fees and eliminating fossil fuel subsidies.  After BC introduced its carbon tax, there was a 48% increase in clean tech sales. During this transition to a greener economy, jobs will be lost in the fossil fuel industry. Plans to support employment transition are essential, but the scope of that work is manageable. In Canada 96% of the workforce is outside of fossil fuel industries. Within the fossil fuel sector, efforts are already underway to transition, for example, training oil sands electricians to install solar panels.[7]


[1]  Dan Woynillowicz, “Behind the numbers: our oil sands and clean energy job comparison” Dec. 2014 http://cleanenergycanada.org/comparing-oil-sands-employment-clean-energy-jobs/

[2] Analytica Advisors. “2015 Canadian Clean Technology Industry Report” http://www.analytica-advisors.com/assets/file/2015%20Report%20Synopsis%20Final_wcovers.pdf

[3] The Solutions Project, Canada http://thesolutionsproject.org/

[4] Daniel León Rodríguez, “Solar industry says 70,000 jobs knocking on Alberta’s door”, National Observer, March 2016 http://www.nationalobserver.com/2016/03/28/news/solar-industry-says-70000-jobs-knocking-albertas-door

[5] Jonathan Chew “There  Will Be More New Jobs in Solar Than Oil by the End of the Year” April 2016 , Fortune Magazine http://fortune.com/2016/04/20/solar-oil-jobs-indeed/

[6] Columbia Institute Tyee Bridge and Richard Gilbert “Jobs for tomorrow” July 2017 http://www.civicgovernance.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Columbia-Jobs-for-Tomorrow-web-low-res-June-30-FINAL.pdf

[7] Iron & Earth http://www.ironandearth.org/

(Updated by CCL Nelson-West Kootenay in May 2016 and then Updated by CCL Canada August 2017).

 

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