Canada’s choice is to become a clean energy superpower or be left behind

VANCOUVER – Global action on climate change is set to kick off a clean energy revolution that could rewrite Canada’s economy, according to the third installment of the Fifth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released today from Berlin, Germany. The report focuses on global changes that need to be made to protect human security, economic prosperity and food production from the impacts of climate change and extreme weather. It shows massive opportunities in the rapidly growing clean energy economy can be realized if the world triples or quadruples renewable energy production over the next 36 years, as is required to reduce atmospheric carbon emissions to safe levels.

“As large economies around the world focus on effective responses to climate change, we’re seeing a clean energy revolution taking shape,” said David Suzuki Foundation science and policy manager Ian Bruce. “The job-creation and innovation opportunities for Canada to develop solutions to climate change are enormous, but only if we choose to work with and join leaders from the international community in prioritizing clean energy solutions and knowledge.”

The report shows how rapidly developing countries will be major drivers in solving climate change. As these economies grow, investments in their energy systems, public transit and building techniques present significant investment opportunities. As renewable energy technologies mature, the report notes, traditional carbon-intensive fossil fuel economies will suffer. Those that rely heavily on coal and unconventional oil such as oil sands will become less competitive and represent greater risks for investors unless they adopt large-scale cleaner production technologies and diversify towards renewable energy.

“More and more, the world is going to need cutting-edge technologies and services as it grapples with reducing the impacts of climate change,” Bruce said. “This report shows that the severity of the impacts of climate change is not a matter of chance. Our future will be determined by the choices we make now to co-operate with world leaders in prioritizing clean energy.”

The David Suzuki Foundation is calling on all levels of government to take responsible action to reduce carbon pollution by prioritizing clean energy production, phasing out Canada’s approximately $1.3 billion per year in fossil fuel subsidies, and modernizing and expanding public transit networks.

“The choice we have is to stick with the economy of yesterday or embrace the economy of tomorrow,” Bruce said. “Canadians are depending on leaders from all levels of government to make the right decision.”

The report shows the best insurance to keep our communities and economies safe and avert the worst impacts will require efforts to nearly eliminate fossil fuel carbon emissions from our energy systems within a generation. This level of effort will keep average global temperatures from increasing above 2 C, a threshold world governments, including Canada, have deemed too dangerous to surpass.

Several international reports released this year show Canada is lagging behind OECD (industrialized) countries when it comes to action to reduce global warming emissions.

Background on the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report

The IPCC produces the most comprehensive scientific reports about climate change globally, based on the greatest consensus of international scientists, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. These reports collate current understanding of how the world’s natural systems that support human life are changing and will continue to change as a result of the unprecedented amounts of carbon pollution being released into the atmosphere. The previous assessment, the Fourth Assessment Report, was released in 2007 and sparked serious global debate on climate change action. In September 2013, the first of four installments of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report was released from Stockholm. It was about the physical science of climate change. The second installment of the Fifth Report, on impacts and required adaptation to climate change, was release from Yokohama, Japan, in March. Today’s third installment assesses mitigation strategies and solutions. The fourth will be a synthesis bringing together the first three reports.

The climate change mitigation and solutions report was released today from Berlin, Germany.

For IPCC media release and report:

Contact: Alvin Singh
(604) 250-2651