OTTAWA, December 20, 2011 - Energy prices are
almost certain to keep rising as global demand increases, so it is
essential that Canadian governments, businesses and consumers get
much more serious about energy conservation, a new report says.
"Better conservation practices will help to insulate Canadians
from volatile energy prices, reduce costs for public institutions
such as schools and hospitals, and improve the international
competitiveness of Canadian companies," says the report, released
today by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE).
"Few Canadians deliberately waste energy, but the choices we
make push us toward higher energy consumption," said John Manley,
the CCCE's President and Chief Executive Officer.
"A renewed commitment to energy
conservation would save money, reduce traffic congestion, improve
productivity and make our cities more liveable."
Today's report, Energy-Wise Canada: Building a Culture of
Energy Conservation, suggests two ways of reducing
Canada's energy consumption footprint.
First, Canadians need to become more knowledgeable about their
energy choices so they can make informed decisions based on actual
costs and benefits. Although most Canadians profess to be
environmentally conscious, our behaviour often tells a different
story. Today's cars, for example, are typically more fuel-efficient
than older models, but there are more of them and we drive many
more kilometers each year.
Similarly, new building codes and better construction materials
have made Canadian houses more energy-efficient, yet the average
size of a new dwelling continues to increase and our homes contain
many more energy-consuming appliances and devices such as computers
and televisions, operating for more hours.
Second, the report says that if governments are serious about
wanting to promote conservation, they should resist the populist
temptation to shield voters from higher energy prices. In most
provinces, the government-regulated rates paid by households and
some industries for electricity do not even cover the cost of
producing and delivering it. Ultimately these costs will have to be
recouped through the general tax base.
The report reiterates the CCCE's longstanding support for a
broad-based carbon pricing scheme that would help to both reduce
greenhouse gas emissions and encourage conservation. "It seems
clear that higher prices will influence Canadians' behaviour in a
way that public exhortation and appeals to the greater good have
The report adds, "Canadians - as business owners, farmers,
building managers and individual consumers - need to see the
everyday cost of inefficient use of energy and be motivated to
change their energy consumption patterns and investment