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Investment in climate-friendly technologies produces economic and environmental benefits

Calgary, AB -- In addition to helping to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, climate-friendly technology in...


Calgary, AB — In addition to helping to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, climate-friendly technology investments can contribute to both economic and employment growth over the next five years, according to a Conference Board of Canada report released May 5, 2010.

“Canada will require significant investment from both the private and public sectors to meet the aggressive GHG reduction targets being set out by governments,” said Len Coad, director, energy, environment and technology policy.

“Innovation will play a key role in achieving climate change goals. To achieve environmental and full economic benefits, governments need to properly support home-grown commercialization of technologies and help develop Canadian clean energy companies. Tapping into export markets for these new technologies would achieve even greater economic benefits,” he said.

The report, The Economic and Employment Impacts of Climate-Related Technology Investments, is based on a review of provincial climate action plans and programs, as well as core federal government climate technology investments. The study includes private and public technology investments made under government programs, which will total $11.8 billion over the period of 2010 to 2014. The study then identifies the impact of these investments on gross domestic product (GDP) and employment.

Alberta and Ontario, the two provinces with the largest GHG emissions, are also the provinces with the highest levels of technology investment. Climate-friendly investments in Alberta, at $6.1 billion in current dollars over the 2010-2014 period, are expected to surpass all other provinces combined. Ontario is expected to spend nearly $2 billion, while Saskatchewan, Quebec and British Columbia are expected to spend more than $1 billion each over this period.

The potential economic impact of these investments varies among the provinces, depending on how their economies are structured and the nature of the investments that each government has planned. With the largest overall expenditure, Alberta is expected to increase real GDP by almost $5 billion. In Ontario, about $2 billion will be added to real GDP. Investments in climate-friendly technologies could generate even greater benefits – which are not captured in this analysis – through domestic and export sales.

Larger and more diverse economies can expect to obtain a greater economic impact per $100 million of technology investment. For example, Ontario will generate about $107 million in real GDP for every $100 million in expenditure, because it has a diversified manufacturing base that can develop and produce a wide variety of technologies. Alberta is expected to achieve $70 million in additional real GDP for every $100 million invested, because of higher dependence on out-of-province suppliers compared to Ontario. Manitoba and British Columbia can expect more than $80 million in real GDP for every $100 million of investment.

In employment terms, Alberta’s technology investments are expected to create more than 50,000 person-years of employment, followed by Ontario (29,000 person-years), British Columbia (13,000 person-years) and Quebec (12,000 person-years). When compared against current employment levels, Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia can expect the largest percentage increase from climate-friendly technology investments.

The report has been produced for the Alberta-based Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC). It is publicly available at www.e-library.ca.