Trying to convince Canadians to support renewable energy? Focus on the economy

Contemporary Canadian politics surrounding renewable energy has been a divisive topic: should the economy or environment receive priority?

When analyzing Canada’s past economic growth, it’s clear that the economy overshadows the environment time after time. While Canada prides itself on having a clean environment, the notion of coupling environmental preservation with economic growth is still in its infancy.

Canada’s economy has been described as having transformed from a natural resource-based economy to a service economy, and now to a “knowledge-based economy”. While this is true of urban centers, primary industries operating within rural Canada are still significant economic drivers.

With abundant resources in oil, minerals, ore, timber and fresh water, it’s no surprise that the initial development of Canada’s economy was closely tied to the exploration of natural resources, particularly oil.

With environmental damage reaching critical levels, Canadians are increasingly looking for ways to balance growth and the preservation of the environment.

Pro-fossil coal and fossil fuel advocates have long decried the move to cap Alberta oil sand emissions at 100 megatonnes of emissions annually, as being anti-business and bad for the economy. While outrage as a result of job insecurity and economic anxiety is to be expected, the claims that embracing renewable energy is damaging for the economy are heavily misguided.

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