GLOBE-Net, October 18, 2012 - The global
transition to a low-carbon economy is underway and firms that
supply low-carbon goods and services can thrive in this expanding
But for Canada to thrive in a low-carbon context, governments
need to act now to set the appropriate policy signals so that
businesses can position themselves to be competitive and can tap
into this market.
These are the conclusions of a new report the National Round
Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRT) released today
entitled Framing the Future: Embracing the Low-Carbon
Economy, billed as the first report to broadly consider
how Canada needs to position itself with respect to low-carbon
goods and services markets in order to prosper through the global
transition to a low-carbon economy.
"A low-carbon economy is no longer a concept of the future.
Governments around the world are moving ahead, and a number of
jurisdictions already have formal low-carbon growth plans in place,
"said National Roundtable Interim Chair, Robert Slater.
"Our research and convening led to a
clear conclusion: Canada is well positioned to thrive in a
low-carbon context but needs to act now to maximize the potential
benefits." Robert Slater, Interim Chair, National Round
"While governments need to put in place the conditions that will
stimulate innovation, mobilize investment, enhance market access,
and foster talent and skills development, private interests need to
drive the process, engage with governments, and play a leadership
role in developing a vision for Canada's low-carbon future."
The report seeks to quantify the potential low-carbon market
opportunities; assess and characterize the risks to Canada in the
transition to a low-carbon future, including quantifying the risk
of emissions lock-in; and to put forward a framework for
governments and the private sector to work collectively to ensure
future prosperity in a carbon-constrained world.
Planning for low-carbon growth can also help navigate any trade,
market access and emissions lock-in risks during the process of
reducing the emissions intensity of our economy.
The report says the global market for low carbon goods and
services could grow from $339 billion (2010) to between $3.9 and
$8.3 trillion per year by 2050. If Canada were to retain its
current average share of the global economy for these sectors in
2050, domestic low carbon production would reach between $70 and
$149 billion per year.
Sending the right policy signals is a pre-requisite for broad
low-carbon growth and to help reduce the economic risks associated
with accessing and trading in this market, according to the
Examples cited included border carbon adjustments, low-carbon
fuel standards, and help to limit the costs of meeting long-term
climate change mitigation objectives.
Not sending strong policy signals now could result in
inefficient investments in carbon-intensive assets and
infrastructure over the next decade warns the report. Meeting
our emission reduction targets would then end up costing Canada in
the range of $87 billion by 2050 as a function of both the
increased quantity of emissions and increased per unit cost of
emission reductions due to stranded assets, it states.
"Canada needs a low-carbon growth plan, and with this report the
NRT has put forward a strong foundation for it. Based on extensive
research and stakeholder consultation, the NRT framework for
low-carbon growth positions Canada for long-term prosperity," said
The NRT's low-carbon vision Canada in 2050 is as a nation
- Diverse, clean, and sustainable energy and electricity
- Responsible, respectful, and sustainable natural resource
- Reputable global exporters of low-carbon energy, technology,
and expertise; and
- Innovators with renowned successes in bringing low-carbon ideas
It also sees Canada as a nation where:
- Benefits from the growing demand for low-carbon jobs flow to
all regions, and
- Citizens and decision makers in public and private sectors stay
committed to meeting low-carbon goals.
Getting to this ideal state requires actions along four basic
lines, says the report.
FIRST, federal and
provincial governments need to stimulate low-carbon innovation.
SECOND, public and
private sectors need to mobilize investment in low-carbon
infrastructure and technology.
THIRD, federal and
provincial governments need to enhance Canadian firms' access to
fast-growing low-carbon markets.
FOURTH, federal and
provincial governments need to work together to foster low-carbon
talent and skills development.
The key messages of the NRTEE report echo the findings of
research carried out by GLOBE Advisors over the last year in Canada
and the United States.
GLOBE has identified five key sectors at the "core" of the
low-carbon economy that have been responsible for driving growth of
a cleaner economy throughout the West Coast region of North America
GLOBE suggests that accelerating investment and job
creation in the low-carbon economy will require continued
government leadership through supportive public policies, programs,
and procurement; improved public education and engagement;
innovative business and financing models, greater efforts to
promote collaboration and knowledge transfer; and improved access
to skilled labour, education, and training.
Framing the Future is the sixth and final
report in the NRT's Climate Prosperity series examining
the economic risks and opportunities of climate change to
Canada. The National Roundtable is to wrap up its operations
soon based on decisions taken in the last federal budget.