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Climate Emergency: A 26-Week Transition Program for Canada

CE March 2020

This is a work of imagination.

But the urgency of the crisis is real,

the need for the suggested programs is real,

and the data included in these proposals is real.

3rd Edition. March 2020

A printable 40-page PDF of this paper is available here:

PDF Climate Emergency

A video of Guy Dauncey presenting a brief summary of this paper is here.

“This is a practical, down to earth concrete step by step transition strategy for the Canadian government to get real about the climate emergency. A must read for all Canadians to make a difference and communicate to their elected officials new policies and programs that will make a difference now.” – Professor Ann Dale, Trudeau Fellow Alumna, Canada Research Chair, Royal Roads University

“This is vital reading. It maps out an evidence-based route ahead; to open real conversations around what we actually need to do in these testing times. It should be read by politicians and policymakers, local and regional councillors, business front-runners, university and health service delivery managers, indeed everyone who wants to explore how we can collectively build the new zero carbon world we so urgently need.” – Paul Allen, Project Coordinator, Zero Carbon Britain project at the Centre for Alternative Technology

“Visionary and thorough, Dauncey’s 26 week Transition Program deserves close scrutiny in Canada and beyond. His passion for a clean economy shines.” – Raffi Cavoukian, C.M., O.B.C., singer, founder of Raffi Foundation For Child Honouring

An Open Letter to Members of Parliament concerning COVID-19 and the Climate Emergency

Greetings! I hope you and your family are staying well, and that you are keeping your personal spirits strong during this very challenging time. I thank you for taking on the onerous and I am sure often thankless task of being a Member of Parliament.

Some people are saying that now is not the time to be seeking further action on the climate emergency, so let me offer four responses to this argument.

Firstly, the Climate and Biodiversity Emergencies are not taking time off just because we are having to grapple with the COVID-19 Emergency. They remain as urgent as ever, and sometime soon, whether next week or the middle of July, a community that’s struggling to contain COVID-19 is also going to be hit by a climate-strengthened hurricane, tornado, forest fire or flood, and our need for social distancing will conflict quite hopelessly with our need to rescue people from their flooded or burning homes.

Secondly, most human pathogens originate from fauna, including HIV, Ebola, influenza, MERS, SARS, and now COVID-19. On April 2nd, Germany’s Environment Minister, Sevenja Schulze, gave a speech in which she said that “science tells us that the destruction of ecosystems makes disease outbreaks including pandemics more likely. This indicates that the destruction of nature is the underlying crisis behind the coronavirus crisis.” Professor Josef Settele, from Germany’s Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, added that “the conservation of intact ecosystems and their characteristic biodiversity can reduce the emergence of infectious diseases. Humanity depends on functioning, diverse ecosystems. By destroying ecosystems we are also destroying our livelihoods, as the coronavirus epidemic is showing. What is needed is no less than a fundamental, system-wide reorganisation, covering technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, objectives and values.”

Thirdly, as Ben Okri wrote recently in The Guardian:

“We are never more resourceful than when we act from courage.

We are in one of those moments in history when we are given an unprecedented crisis

in order that we may gift ourselves with an extraordinary response

that can change our destiny as a species forever.”

And finally, we cannot wait until the crisis is over to recommence work on the climate and biodiversity emergencies. We need to plan now for the economic stimulus measures that will be needed to rebuild our economy once we emerge from this crisis.

Some of these measures may be ‘business-as-usual’, but many could be used to nudge Canada’s economy towards a post-carbon economy, which is the only real solution to the climate and biodiversity emergencies. The investments described in my paper will generate 639,000 direct jobs, plus all the associated indirect and induced jobs.

The task we need to address now is that these jobs need to be shovel-ready, which cannot be done overnight. Almost all of the 164 policies and programs described in the report need work to realize them. Among other things, we will need a new network of public banks, which will take time to establish, and a strong financial foundation for Climate Action Bonds, Green Bonds, and the pan-Canadian use of PACE and PAYS home retrofit loans.

The work of implementing the recommended climate solutions is spread across many federal departments and jurisdictions. We cannot hand them all to Jonathan Wilkinson’s staff and say “Please get back to me when they are done.” Each of you, whether you are a cabinet minister, back-bencher, member of a Standing Committee or member of an opposition caucus, can assist in the development of the solutions, crafting them into an effective Green Stimulus Programme and a Just Recovery that can be ready when we need it to pull us out of the COVID-19 economic quagmire.

Since I printed the 2nd Edition I have continued to make small corrections and improvements, which are included below. I have also given a talk on Zoom about my paper.

And once again, I want to thank you for your work, and your commitment to help us all to rise to the occasion to make Canada the best country it can be. All across the country, people and communities are responding to the crisis in ways that are heartfelt and inspiring. I have added my contribution through 50 Ways to Stay SANE During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Yours sincerely, Guy Dauncey, April 7th 2020 (Week Four of the COVID-19 Lockdown)

Summary

What could the government of Canada do if its Ministers, MPs and civil servants really understood the severity of the climate emergency, and the urgency of the need? This paper shows how we could target a 65% reduction in emissions by 2030 and 100% by 2040. It proposes 164 new policies and programs, financed by $59 billion a year in new investments, without raising taxes or increasing public sector borrowing. The new programs and policies are announced every Monday morning between January 6th and the end of June. To learn what they are, read on.

I thank Mitchell Beer, editor of The Energy Mix, Scott Sinclair, CEO of SES Consulting, and Elizabeth Sheehan, President of Climate Smart Business Inc. for their advice and suggestions. Suggestions for corrections and improvements are welcome.

January 6th, 2020.

This is a joint statement from the Prime Minister and all Ministers in the new Liberal Cabinet. The commitments made below represent additions to our December 2019 Ministerial Mandate letters.[1]

We face an existential climate emergency, as 1,248 governments have declared, representing 800 million people.[2] As a world, we are not on track: we have yet to bend the curve of our ever-increasing carbon emissions. The goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C is rapidly slipping out of reach.[3] The consequences are already proving catastrophic, as we see from the wildfire inferno that is currently destroying a huge area of Australia, including much of the wildlife in the affected regions.

Continue reading Climate Emergency: A 26-Week Transition Program for Canada

Almost Twice as Many Green Jobs if Canada Phases out Fossil Fuels

Almost

by Guy Dauncey

The 48-Page Report is here.

Is It Really True?

Is it really true that if we don’t build more pipelines and allow more exports of coal, oil and gas, that Canada’s economy will be in danger and unemployment will rise?

That’s certainly what we are frequently told, both by the Conservative federal government and by several provincial governments, either directly or by implied assumption.

There is alternative, however. The climate crisis is inescapably real. It threatens everyone’s future, and it is being caused by carbon emissions from the same fossil fuels that our governments want to expand.

So what would it look like if there were an organized plan to phase out fossil fuels and embrace 100% renewable energy in Canada? That’s certainly what the climate crisis calls for. Continue reading Almost Twice as Many Green Jobs if Canada Phases out Fossil Fuels