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Pembina Institute News - February, 2009

1. Green Investments Needed for Canada's Economic Recovery: Prime Minister Harper's Budget Fails to Deliver

The 2009 federal budget is a far cry from the "green stimulus" package called for by thousands of Canadians. Unfortunately, Prime Minister Steven Harper's budget, announced January 27, was a missed opportunity to invest in the green economy of the future. In the 2009 budget, investments in "clean energy" account for a mere five per cent of the total stimulus package, much of which appears to be destined for carbon capture and storage. In comparison, President Obama's stimulus package includes at least $55 billion for clean energy over the next eighteen months or so, four times more per capita than Canada's government proposed.

The federal budget leaves Canada lagging far behind the U.S. in fighting global warming. Moreover, the government's decision not to renew the ecoENERGY for Renewable Power program puts millions of dollars of green investment and thousands of future jobs at risk. This failure to renew support could leave Canada without any meaningful renewable energy funding in six months, while countries around the world are doubling and tripling their efforts to invest in renewables.

Read related media releases from the Pembina Institute:
Over 850,000 Canadians Call for Focus on Green Jobs, Green Stimulus
Dark Days for Green Energy in Canada

2. Seven Ways Canada Could Have Stimulated A New Clean Economy
In December, the Pembina Institute submitted a set of recommendations to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty for the 2009 budget. The policies we support produce significant new investment in clean technologies that have a track record in creating jobs and generating economic growth. They include:

Major new support for retrofitting and re-commissioning Canada's homes and buildings.

A Smart Energy Fund providing low-interest loans for energy efficiency and small-scale renewable energy systems.

Expansion of the successful ecoENERGY for Renewable Power program.

A pan-Canadian research network focused on overcoming technical barriers to increased renewable energy deployment.

Major new direct investment in bus and light rail infrastructure.

Green retooling and higher fuel efficiency standards for the automotive sector.
A cap-and-trade system for GHG emissions that puts a price on global warming pollution and provides revenue for green investments.

Extending the government's home energy efficiency program was a positive step; however, overall the budget failed to make a meaningful investment in Canada's green energy future.

For further details, download Pembina's Recommendations for an Economic Stimulus.

3. Greening the Grid Good for Canada
What do Alberta and Ontario have in common? In both of these very different provinces, the Pembina Institute's researchers have concluded that moving towards green energy can help clean up the electricity supply and create new green jobs. Tim Weis, author of Greening the Grid, describes how Alberta could become a leader in green power production and energy efficiency without having to rely on the dirty fuels responsible for global warming pollution.

"After many years of working and researching in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency, it has become abundantly clear that political and social limitations, rather than technology or technological limitations, will determine Alberta's future energy path. I'm convinced that developing a clean electricity future for Alberta — a future powered entirely with renewable technologies — is technically doable and practical in just 20 years. Other jurisdictions around the world demonstrate the feasibility of this goal. What we need is leadership. As ordinary Canadians, we need to tell our political leaders and our utility companies that we won't settle for outdated ideas any longer. We want a future that includes cleaner sources of power, and we want the shift to start today."
Meanwhile, Ontario is poised to make some key decisions on whether to invest in a green energy economy or build expensive nuclear plants. In Plugging Ontario Into A Green Future, author Cherise Burda presents an action plan for green energy and shows how this will assist Ontario in meeting its climate targets and create new green jobs.

"Investing in green technologies — many of which are made in Canada — can lower greenhouse gas emissions, stimulate the economy and create jobs. Stimulating the economy by investing in green "shovel-ready" projects such as home retrofits, renewable energy projects, transit and sustainable community infrastructure will propel us forward. Extending highways and subsidizing nuclear projects will only sink us back into the dark ages."

"President Barack Obama has announced a bold plan to launch America into a clean energy future. We need to let our Canadian leaders know we will not tolerate being left behind."

Alberta Resources:
Download Greening the Grid: Powering Alberta's Future with Renewable Energy
Imagine a Renewable Future (slide show)
Listen to Tim Weis on CKCU radio

Ontario Resources:
Download Plugging Ontario Into A Green Future
Watch Cherise Burda unveil the recommendations of the report on CBC Newsworld

Hot Off the Press:
Greening the Grid: Powering Alberta's Future with Renewable Energy

This report presents a comprehensive analysis of Alberta’s power production and energy efficiency opportunities and demonstrates the dominant role that renewable energy and improved efficiency can play in seriously reducing pollution and meeting future power demand.

The report outlines two scenarios, one a “pale green” scenario that relies on renewable energy and energy efficiency to meet all new growth in Alberta’s electricity supply with clean technologies. The other, a more aggressive “green” scenario, shows how Alberta could move from 70 per cent coal to 70 per cent renewable energy in just 20 years.

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