Study: $ 20 billion in economic gains at Quebec’s disposal if oil consumption is scaled back

Intro

By cutting oil consumption by 12 per cent, Quebec could salvage up to $20 billion over the next six years, according to a recent study. The report, overseen by the Regroupement national des conseils régionaux du Québec (RNCREQ), a network of regional environmental groups, revealed that even a moderate scale-back could yield positive impacts on regional development and the environment, while simultaneously creating jobs and alleviating household spending. The timing of this publication release coincides with a series of climate-related events around the world, including the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, one of the most expensive extreme weather events in US history, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) meeting this week in Copenhagen. Locally, CanWEA, Canada’s wind agency association, is also wrapping up its annual conference and exhibition, where many panelists are addressing the economic and environmental benefits of wind energy. At the IPCC meeting, scientists are compiling years of research about human-caused climate change and explaining how a world safe from climate change can be achieved through shifts in policy. According to the IPCC, it is still possible to minimize the extreme weather impacts of climate change by containing global warming to the international redline of 2 degrees Celsius. Achieving this target will require immediate emissions cuts worldwide and a large scale transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy sources.

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MT @cmusician “If there’s a benefit to the Canadian economy from the oil sands, you won’t find it in the job market.” #cdnpoli #abpoli

Key Points

  • Cutting Quebec’s oil consumption by 12 per cent could lead to significant economic and environmental gains in only six years. This study reveals that even a moderate scale-back could yield positive impacts on regional development and the environment, all the while creating jobs and alleviating household spending. If this economic model were to be applied in Quebec and oil consumption dropped in the transportation sector, the province could potentially save $19,7 billion by 2020, and create 130,000 jobs directly and indirectly.
  • A continued spike in oil consumption will lead to more frequent and costly extreme weather events. Extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy was estimated to have cost the US over $68 billion in damage. North of the border, droughts, floods, and wildfires continue to cost Canadian taxpayers billions. If action is not taken to slow climate change, ravaged coastlines, flooded boardwalks, and scorched forests will become the norm—and taxpayers will have to foot the bill.
  • By cutting dirty fossil fuels and scaling up renewable energy sources, Canada could potentially salvage its reputation as a “climate vilain”. Carbon pollution—caused by burning fossil fuels—is driving climate change. Switching to renewable sources of energy like solar and wind will slow global warming, reduce the risk of extreme weather events, and create jobs at home all the while putting Canada back at the forefront of change. Report after report reveals that with sound policy, economic restructuring and investment, renewable energy sources can power the world within just a few decades.

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