Two Alberta NDP MLAs received a stack of mock resumes on Saturday with applicants applying for the Alberta Climate Corps a fictional program made to raise awareness for the need for green jobs.

On March 25, activist from Edmonton and Lethbridge dropped off mock resumes at both the Edmonton-Strathcona and Lethbridge-West NDP MLA offices “to highlight the gutting absence of climate-related commitments from NDP and UCP communications.”

“What we’re seeing right now is that a ‘just transition’ is coming whether or not we want it, it’s going to happen, it needs to happen. And if we can get ahead on that and offer these jobs…we can be a leader in (green) industry,” said Ciara Farmer, a member of Climate Justice Edmonton.

Farmer would like to see the government become more involved in the creation of a “public institution that could put thousands of Albertans to work in their communities on climate-related work, from renewable infrastructure to low-carbon care work,” stated a press release.

Climate Justice Edmonton isn’t the only organization calling on government to make more of an effort to make the switch to green jobs.

On March 22, Clean Energy Canada, a climate and clean energy program within the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University, released a report which showed a potential for 10 per cent per year growth in Alberta in clean energy jobs if the country takes supportive action to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

According to the report, this is a “pivotal” moment as the U.S. “made the single largest investment in climate and energy in American history in the form of the Inflation Reduction Act.”

The EU has also announced a “multi-billion-euro Green Deal Industrial Plan,” and “China is dominating supply chains with 60 per cent of the world’s clean energy technology manufacturing.”

The report stated that 92 per cent of the global gross domestic product (GDP) is covered by net-zero commitments.

“Decisions made today will shape the success of Canada’s own energy sector in the years ahead,” the report said.

The report, which was based on modelling by Clean Energy Canada and Navius Research explored three different scenarios Canada could take as countries around the world take climate action.

The scenarios included Canada reaching net-zero targets by 2050 which would require additional climate action from the government; a scenario based on current policy which would see Canada’s 2030 emissions reduced to 40 per cent below 2005 levels; and a rollback policy which would see a government roll back federal carbon price, the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, and Clean Fuel Regulations.

Jobs in the clean energy sector include clean transportation, clean energy supply, clean building which includes clean heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, and clean industry.

In the net-zero scenario, the report predicts Canada could see a seven per cent per year growth from 509,000 in 2025 to 2.7 million by 2050 in the clean energy sector.

Data from the report showed, if current policies are kept in place, clean energy jobs could grow from 484,000 in 2025 to 2.44 million in 2050.  

If there were a rollback in climate measures, the report said there would be a decrease of 100,000 in energy jobs by 2050.

“While there will be a 1.5-million job decline in fossil fuels in a net-zero scenario 2.2-million job increase in the clean energy sector,” said the report.

Regardless of scenario, the report said there will be a 93 per cent decline in jobs in oil sands and oil production between 2025 and 2050.

Data from the report said fossil fuel jobs are set to decrease from 2.25 million in 2025 to 776,00 in 2050.

Specifically, Alberta, in a net-zero future, would specifically see “418,900 Albertan clean energy jobs added between 2025 and 2050, almost 100,000 more than the 324,300-decline expected in fossil fuels. In fact, there will be more jobs in the clean energy sector in 2050 than in fossil fuels in 2025,” the report noted.

In a net-zero 2050, the clean energy sector would be worth 63 per cent more than the fossil fuel sector in 2025, the report stated.

“The inflation-adjusted GDP of the clean energy sector would increase to become six times larger in a net-zero 2050 compared to 2025, while the GDP of fossil fuels would halve,” said the report.

“While fossil fuels will be contributing less to the Canadian economy in the future, the clean energy sector more than makes up for it. The clean energy opportunity is also a pan-Canadian one, with every single province and territory seeing significant clean energy sector growth,” the report continued.

Brian Jean, minister of jobs, economy, and northern development, said in an email the conclusions Clean Energy Canada has drawn from the independent modelling are flawed, and that Canadians need to have an educated conversation about net-zero pathways.

“This report does not serve that goal,” he said.

Jean has “significant concerns over the proposed forced transition to net zero and the plans to eliminate good paying energy jobs in favour of lower skilled and lower paid replacements.”

He also has concerns about the way the report categorizes workers.

“For example, today’s truck drivers driving diesel trucks are counted as transportation sector workers, but when their truck becomes an electric or hydrogen truck, they magically become the holders of energy jobs. No actual jobs have been created but Clean Energy Canada says that truck driver has offset a real, high paying job in the energy sector that was lost,” he continued.

However, Jean’s concern that truck drivers “magically becoming holders of energy jobs” is “not the case,” said Keri McNamara spokesperson for Clean Energy Canada.

“The drivers of internal combustion engine vehicles are all counted in our definition of fossil fuels, not transportation,” she said. “The job is not “magically” created in the energy sector—it was always included in the energy sector. Our model merely transfers it from one part of the energy sector to another.”

McNamara said their report is tracking the transfer of jobs from fossil fuels to clean energy.

“There will also be new jobs added in the clean energy sector—and the net gain in clean energy jobs outpace losses in fossil fuels,” she continued.

Jean said the demand for energy is forecast to rise and high environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards place Canada “as the world’s source for cleaner, responsibly produced hydrocarbons.

“Alberta’s government is supporting oil and gas jobs by advocating for our world-leading emissions standards and clean tech innovation expertise while creating a provincial environment that will attract additional clean tech investments,” he said.

Clean Energy Canada said 2050 is the world’s biggest deadline and most countries agree net-zero is necessary by that point to avoid the “most devastating impacts” of climate change. So far, 133 countries, 246 cities, and 826 companies “have adopted or are considering net-zero targets.”tating impacts” of climate change. So far, 133 countries, 246 cities, and 826 companies “have adopted or are considering net-zero targets.”

By Jessica Nelson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 06, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   St. Albert Gazette   St. Albert, Alberta

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