An industrial strategy represents the best opportunity to make the shift to the zero carbon economy needed to avoid the risks and disruptions expected as climate change gets worse. That’s the conclusion of environmental campaigner Andrew Simms in an op-ed in the Guardian this week.
A recently released research paper from the United Steelworkers (USW), The Case for Canada’s Steel Industry, raises a couple of concerns that need to be part of any decision around supporting the steel industry in Canada.
A new study, from economists at University College London shows the impact dealing with climate change could have on Canada and other countries.
Like other researchers, the authors of the study argue that curbing climate change means roughly two-thirds of fossil fuels need to stay in the ground. This finding is similar to the findings of other research on what needs to be done to keep the average global temperature rise from greenhouse gas emissions below two degrees Celsius.
A recent article from Blue Green Canada warned that the failure of the federal government to encourage a transition to a green economy will have consequences. One estimate suggested that low carbon goods and services could mean 400,000 jobs. It has also been suggested that when the increasing impact of climate change forces governments to take drastic action there will be much less demand for Canadian oil.
In the space of a month, it was announced that two major employers in Southwest Ontario – the Heinz plant in Leamington and the Kellogg's plant in London – will close. In both cases, the news might have been very different if federal and provincial governments had adopted an industrial strategy that made good jobs and protecting the environment a priority.
Danger of Leamington plant closing known since 1990
An article in the National Post this week by Steelworkers leaders Leo Gerard and Ken Neumann showed how lack of a steel strategy or broader industrial strategy is hurting Canada.
Even though Canada has many comparative advantages when it comes to steel production, in 2012 Canada imported $12.2 billion worth of steel and had a trade deficit in steel of $4.6 billion. Many of the countries from which Canada imports steel have industrial strategies that have helped their industry succeed.
A report from the U.S. BlueGreen Alliance is calling for measures to improve energy efficiency in the manufacturing sector. These would help achieve the benefits identified in a 2009 report from McKinsey and Company that found improved energy efficiency would reduce energy consumption by 21% and save U.S.
In addition to concerns about the environmental impact, questions are being raised about whether the economic impact of the Energy East plan to convert a natural gas pipeline to carry oil will be positive.
A recent report from the Parkland Institute calls on the Alberta government to take steps to prevent another bitumen bubble from occurring.
The report points out that during the 2005-2008 boom, most Albertans were worse-off. People were working longer without seeing a significant improvement in income, public services were struggling to cope and homelessness increased.