After over four years in power, Stephen Harper’s government has yet to produce a comprehensive climate change plan of any kind.
Ottawa (March 2, 2010) - Climate Action Network - Canada is calling for three budget items in the 2010 budget to demonstrate authentic commitment from the Harper government on the climate file.
1. “Our Fair Share” of short-term climate finance:
The Copenhagen climate talks in December include a promise on the part of rich countries to provide US$30 billion in new and additional funding from 2010 to 2012 to help poorer countries tackle climate change. While the Government of Canada has indicated its support for the Copenhagen Accord, it has failed to provide any funding for the urgent short-term needs of developing countries in adapting to the impacts of climate change and reducing their own emissions.
Analysis of Canada’s contributions to other international financing efforts shows that our fair share is in the range of 3–4% of the global total. In the context of the Copenhagen Accord’s short-term financing initiative, this analysis means that Canada should provide C$320–$420 million per year in new funds, over and above our Official Development Assistance commitments, from 2010 to 2012. Budget 2010 is Canada’s best opportunity to provide this funding ahead of the Canadian G8 and G20 meetings in June.
2. Meaningful investment in renewable energy production:
The federal government’s only significant support program for renewable power is fully committed. Unless it is renewed and expanded in Budget 2010, the ecoENERGY Program for Renewable Power will effectively cease funding new projects, leaving millions of dollars of potential investment stranded. With the U.S. government making major new investments in green power (outspending Canada by a factor of 14:1, per capita, on renewables like wind and solar in 2009) this would represent a disaster for Canada’s green industries.
Based on the experience of Canada’s past renewable energy production incentive programs, an additional 8,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable electricity systems would require an average of $207 million per fiscal year over the next 14 years for a total of $2.9 billion over that time period. This investment would leverage six times as much private capital and result in the creation of over 8,000 jobs by 2014.
A small portion of this program ($4 million annually) should be set aside at higher incentive levels for remote communities that have notably higher energy costs, and for whom 1¢/kWh is not significant enough to encourage development.
3. Renewing and expanding the work of the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences:
Federal funding for university climate science research will plummet in fiscal year 2010-2011 unless the government injects new funding into the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences. The Foundation estimates that it needs $25 million a year, starting immediately, to continue essential climate science research. This request is even more urgent in light of the very substantial investments in climate science that are included in President Obama's budget plans.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE