A Green Budget for Canada?

Ottawa – In light of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s invitation for input on the upcoming federal budget, the Green Budget Coalition (GBC) is today highlighting its three priority budget recommendations, whose adoption could stimulate over 8,000 new jobs in renewable energy, ensure clean sources of drinking water for millions of Canadians, and help Canada meet its commitment under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity to establish national and regional systems of protected areas.

“These are prime opportunities for Canada to shine on the world stage during the International Year of Biodiversity and in the lead-up to the G8 and G20 Summits,” said Barry Turner, Chair of the Green Budget Coalition and Director of Government Relations, Ducks Unlimited Canada.

The Green Budget Coalition comprises 21 of Canada’s leading environmental and conservation organizations and has been active since 1999. Its detailed budget recommendations are contained in Recommendations for Budget 2010: Investing in a Prosperous Green Future.

Members of the coalition met with MPs from all political parties and with senior government officials to discuss these recommendations. “We received a positive reception from all of the MPs and officials with whom we met and are optimistic that our recommendations will receive serious consideration as the final budget deliberations take place,” said Mr. Turner.

The Green Budget Coalition’s 3 priority recommendations for the 2010 federal budget are:

  1. Protecting Ecosystems and Biodiversity: In the face of dangerous climate change, and with Canada due to report this year on its progress under the UN Convention on Biodiversity, fund a national ecosystem based adaptation strategy to improve Canada’s biodiversity protection on lands and oceans.
  2. Investing in Canada’s Freshwater Future: Deliver Canada’s promised federal water strategy, building upon recent federal actions, by investing in water and wastewater infrastructure, the cleanup of contaminated sediment, and protecting freshwater ecosystems in the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Basin.
  3. Re-investing in Renewable Energy: Create at least 8,000 jobs by renewing Canada’s incentives for renewable power, establishing green energy bonds and mapping Canada’s geothermal potential.

Climate change is a threat to the future of humanity, as Prime Minister Harper has acknowledged. The GBC’s recommendations on biodiversity and water highlight some of the key measures required for Canada to prepare for, and adapt to, the impacts of climate change. Strong actions are also required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including investing in clean energy sources, in order to protect future generations and avoid the much greater costs of inaction.

In light of the Copenhagen meetings in December, the GBC is now recommending that the budget allocate new funding, additional to current Overseas Development Assistance commitments, to cover Canada’s fair share of the US$30 billion committed in Copenhagen, from 2010 to 2012, in “new and additional resources” to assist developing countries in mitigating and adapting to climate change.

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