Pakistan, a country whose contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is small by Canadian standards, knows the wrath and injustice of climate chaos. A third of the country was flooded by this summer’s extreme monsoon season, directly affecting over 33 million people and killing over 1,500 (as of early October). Many of them are children. The economy has been devastated. Over a million homes have been lost, 5,000 kilometers of roads and thousands of bridges have been destroyed, 800,000 livestock have been killed or washed away, and millions of acres of crops have been damaged. The dollar seems like a weak metric for measuring the scale of devastation, but the cost is tens of billions of dollars.
American conservationist David Brouwer ironically said, “We are at war with nature and we are winning.” Pakistan’s floods are one of the fronts in the collision with the planetary boundaries that define the rules of everything we do, but the battle with nature will soon be upon us.
Of course, there is no chance of winning such a war, and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said, “Building peace with nature is the defining challenge of the 21st century and a top priority for everyone everywhere. must be,” he declared.
We know how to make that peace. If he doesn’t know what needs to be done, or if what we have to do isn’t also the path to new prosperity and economic justice, the outlook is bleaker.
The Corporate Knights Climate and Economic Renewal Plan charts a path to peace based on energy efficiency, electrification, and increased supply of carbon-free energy. Its main components include:
• Renovate, modernize and electrify most of the 9 million existing residential and commercial buildings across Canada. Prioritize affordability for all.
• Rapidly expand renewable power and storage supplies and increase interstate grid connections.
• With 10 million EVs on the road by 2030 and a fully built trans-Canada fast-charging infrastructure complemented by 2,000 kilometers of new bike rights, we will increase the market share of electric vehicles to 100% of light vehicles and trucks. up to 75% of the Road and infrastructure support.
• By 2030, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from steel and cement production by at least 50%.
• Support the economic transformation of Canada’s oil patch into the post-oil age by redeploying expertise and resources to growth sectors and high value opportunities such as the burgeoning carbon fiber market.
• Increase the supply of critical minerals while demonstrating the social, ethical and environmental attributes of what mining should be in a sustainable economy.
• Convert 30% of farmland to low tillage by 2030;
Canada’s current climate spending is between $15 billion and $25 billion per year, while the Corporate Knights plan has a capital requirement of $126 billion per year over the next critical decade. This is consistent with other estimates that an effective emergency response to climate change requires an investment of around his 5-6% of GDP.
How this total is split between public and private capital will vary by policy and sector, but the overall effort needed will be focused on responding to existential threats and collapsing economies. within the scope of previous efforts. A $126 billion annual investment plan for climate and economic renewal is certainly possible in Canada. Canada is an economy with $2 trillion in annual output and $450 billion in capital expenditures per year, and its government alone has just spent $500 billion on investments. Emergency response to COVID pandemic.
Unlike most spending on COVID, much of the investment needed to respond to the climate emergency will not only pay off, it will also position Canada for decades of economic prosperity. increase. As the world steps up its efforts to address the climate crisis of the 2020s, there is growing demand for smart building solutions, electric vehicles and related batteries and infrastructure, renewable grid technologies, critical minerals and sustainable biotechnology. , creating a market of $9 trillion annually. , plant-based proteins, and other components of the post-fossil economy.
Just as the successful economies of the 20th century were those that were able to take advantage of fossil fuels and combustion technology, the successful economies of the 21st century will be those with the technology and know-how to function within the boundaries of the planet. .
As we have witnessed in Pakistan and countless other places in recent months, climate chaos is relentless and relentless. The status quo is no longer a safe option. In any case, David Brower once said: I think we are made to try things. ”
Ralph Torrie is Research Director at Corporate Knights.
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For more information on the plan, please visit corporateknights.com/investmentplan.