In recent years Ontario has made some impressive strides towards a green economy. Yet there is still much more to be done.
In recent years Ontario has made some impressive strides towards a green economy. The Green Energy Act is North America’s best renewable energy program and most powerful green jobs engine. The Water Opportunities Act, the Greenbelt Act, and the provincial support for electric vehicle manufacturing have also helped position Ontario as a green economic leader. Yet there is still much more to be done if we are to truly pursue a resource efficient, socially inclusive, low carbon economy.
It is with this in mind that we drafted this report, released this week, on Building Ontario’s Green Economy
. The report contains a series of recommendations for a variety of sectors and areas, including low-carbon transportation, cap and trade, energy efficient buildings, and waste management.
Together, these recommendations illustrate what a green economy could look like in the province of Ontario, and they suggest a route by which this vision could be realized.
It may seem strange, naive even, to argue for greater environmental protection at the present time, with our economy in the doldrums and sluggish growth projected for years to come. But the context of austerity actually makes the case for the green economy even stronger.
In recent years, including during the worst of the recession, the green sectors of the economy outperformed the rest of the economy
and added jobs at nearly three times the rate of the economy at large. And this trend will continue, even accelerate. The International Energy Agency, for example, predicts
that solar energy will supply a third of the world’s energy by 2060.
Moreover, for Ontario, there are particularly compelling reasons to pursue a green economy. Research
shows that the green economy is more manufacturing- and export-intensive than the economy at large, and it yields more jobs with better pay. In short, a green economy is one of the most promising ways for Ontario to shake off its economic malaise and to position itself as a leading producer of high-value goods that will be in demand in the years to come.
We encourage our leaders to pay close attention to the recommendations offered in this report
. The suggestions made here are broadly applicable, regardless of whether your concern is alleviating poverty, creating decent jobs, improving the environment, or stimulating economic growth.
It is clear that Ontario’s policy makers appreciate both the need for and the opportunity presented by the green economy. They have already helped Ontario stand out as a North American green economic leader. Now we urge them to go farther, to solidify Ontario’s leadership and fully realized the opportunity that lies before us.