Will Canada Respond to Obama’s Call for Climate Change Action?

Marlo Raynolds, executive director of the Pembina Institute, made the following statements in response to President Obama’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly today, in which the president called for urgent global action to address climate change:

Canada is increasingly viewed as a laggard in both greenhouse gas emission reductions and investment, and support for a transition to clean energy. Just yesterday, Rajendra Pachauri, head of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, noted that Canada should be doing much more to reduce its pollution and should put new oil sands development on hold until emission reduction technologies are better developed.

This year, President Obama invested more than US$75 billion to build a clean-energy economy and create clean-energy jobs. That is six times more investment, per capita, than the Canadian government.

If Canada continues to lag behind and focus on yesterday’s sources of energy, we face the twin risks of decreased economic competitiveness and a diminished international reputation.

Countries that lead the global transition away from fossil fuels will win the race for clean-energy jobs. Canada needs to be one of those leaders.

For a look at Canada vs. US government investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency in 2009, see the Pembina’s recent backgrounder.

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