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The Conference Board of Canada predicts that investments in technology to prevent and adapt to climate change will have major economic benefits. The report, The Economic and Employment Impacts of Climate-Related Technology Investments concludes that climate-friendly technology investments can contribute to both economic and employment growth over the next five years.  This supports the economic argument for initiatives such as the Green Energy Act.

Based on a review of provincial climate action plans and investment programs, as well as core federal government climate technology investments, [i] the study suggests that anticipated private and public technology investments made under government programs will total $11.8 billion over the period of 2010 to 2014.[ii] The two provinces with the largest GHG emissions will invest and benefit the most: Alberta will make the largest total investment in energy technology, exceeding $6.1 billion, followed by Ontario with $1.97 billion.[iii]

Based on these figures, the economic impacts are expected to be significant. However, they will vary among the provinces, depending on how their economies are structured and the nature of the investments that each government has planned.[iv] For instance, having the nation’s strongest manufacturing industry, every $100 million invested in Ontario is estimated to result in $107 million in real gross domestic product (GDP). In contrast, Alberta will only achieve $70 million in increased real GDP per $100 due to its dependence on out of province suppliers.[v]

According to the Report, the greatest impact of technology investments will be on employment. As one of the biggest investors in climate-friendly technologies, Alberta is expected to experience the strongest employment gain with nearly 50,500 person-years of employment created, followed by Ontario (29,022 person-years), British Columbia (13, 317 person-years) and Quebec (12, 287 person-years). [vi]

Jessica Yuan and  Dianne Saxe

[i] The Conference Board of Canada. (5 May, 2010). “The Economic and Employment Impacts of Climate-Related Technology Investments,” At http://www.conferenceboard.ca/temp/5a0f3d6f-a2b6-44b5-aed7-6fb3c8b3b252/10-256_EconomicImpactClimateTech-Rpt_WEB.pdf

, (p. ii).

[ii] Brent Dowdall. “Investment in climate-Friendly Technologies Produces Economic and Environmental Benefits,” At http://www.conferenceboard.ca/press/newsrelease/10-107.aspx

[iii] The Conference Board of Canada, p. i

[iv] Brent Dowdall

[v] The Conference Board of Canada, p. i

[vi] Ibid, p. 31

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