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Wednesday, 16 December 2015 14:34

Brad Wall must advocate for a ’Just Transition’

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Climate change is the greatest threat facing our planet, full stop.
At the same time, it serves as the greatest opportunity for sustainable economic growth and job creation. 
The false choice and distraction around jobs and the environment has more than exhausted its stay.
What we need to focus on is developing strategies that will ensure full employment for workers moving away from the fossil fuel industry and the development of good, sustainable jobs.
In order to achieve the Paris Agreement’s aspiration of staying below 1.5°C (or even 2°C), we must begin the transition away from fossil fuels, but this must be a “Just Transition.”
A large part of the resistance to transition stems from the notion that these initiatives will only result in job loss. Workers and their families will be in a much better position to succeed in a transition with the support of strong labour-market adjustment programs.
We must advocate for retraining, re-employment and relocation for affected workers and their communities.
We must also spread awareness on the fact a transition towards a green economy will require many of the skills that are being utilized in fossil fuel extraction.
What is more, recent reports have found investment in renewable energy returns between six to nine times more jobs as the same amount of investment in the oil industry.
We cannot continue to allow the market and business-friendly policies to determine when and how the transition to a green economy takes place.
The timing is crucial and more than ever, people are recognizing the dire threat of climate change.
Nearly two-thirds of Canadians said they support Canada committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, even if that translates to an increase in their personal costs.
A Just Transition is possible: it will require governments to act on ambitious targets with the support of substantial public investments; new sources of revenue can come from the elimination of subsidies to the oil industry and from progressive tax measures.
By investing in public transit, green buildings, and renewable energies, we can tackle climate change while also creating good jobs and a Just Transition.
If Premier Brad Wall’s “number one responsibility is back to the people of Saskatchewan,” then advocating for a Just Transition is the first place to start.
Catherine Gendron

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