Campaign aims to address misinformation around Canada’s reliance on fossil fuels, highlight the feasibility of a transition to clean power
VANCOUVER | TRADITIONAL, UNCEDED TERRITORIES OF THE xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (MUSQUEAM), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (SQUAMISH) AND səlilwətaɬ (TSLEIL-WAUTUTH) FIRST NATIONS — As Canada develops its first federal clean electricity regulations, the David Suzuki Foundation has launched a billboard and transit advertising campaign with a simple message: “Let’s plug into affordable, secure, renewable power.” The billboards support the regulations’ push to achieve 100 per cent zero-emissions renewable electricity in Canada by 2035.
The ad campaign builds on a years-long study the foundation undertook with academic researchers to model pathways for how Canada can affordably and reliably reach zero-emissions electricity. David Suzuki Foundation research shows that by prioritizing technologies like wind, solar, energy storage, energy efficiency and interprovincial transmission, Canada could reach zero-emissions electricity by 2035 without relying on expensive, unproven and sometimes dangerous technologies like nuclear, fossil gas, and carbon capture and storage.
Polling shows a clean energy transition is popular in Canada (Abacus, Clean Energy Canada). It would also bring more control and price consistency, while moving away from the global insecurities and price spikes created by fossil fuel markets. Renewables like wind and solar have been the least expensive form of electricity now for years — significantly cheaper than electricity generated from all fossil fuels, including fossil gas.
The ad campaign is in contrast to the tens of millions of advertising dollars spent recently by groups like the Pathways Alliance, a coalition of six of the largest oil and gas companies representing over 90 per cent of oilsands production in Canada, and fossil fuel support groups such as the Canadian Energy Centre (the public-facing brand of the Alberta government’s “war room”).
“Fossil fuel companies are experiencing record profits while everyday people struggle under a historic affordability crisis,” said David Suzuki Foundation clean energy manager Stephen Thomas. “Messaging that the fossil fuel industry is reducing emissions is deceptive. It fails to mention the significant harms the industry continues to cause.”
Over the past 30 years, the world’s five biggest oil companies have invested more than US$3.6 billion for “reputation-building ads,” indicating that advertising is viewed as an effective strategy.
“There’s reason to pay attention to advertising — because it works,” Thomas added. “There’s nothing controversial about ads calling for a shift to affordable, secure, renewable electricity. The true controversy is why we don’t see more.”
The federal government plans to release the draft clean electricity regulations this spring. To learn more about the Foundation’s campaign for 100 per cent zero-emissions electricity in Canada by 2035, visit davidsuzuki.org/2035.
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