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Smart City
April 21, 2021

Green investment by Canadian cities could create three million jobs

The transformational economic and health benefits for Canadians of investing in city-led efforts to secure a green and just recovery from the Covid-19 crisis could also lead to the creation of three million jobs, new research suggests.

The analysis from C40 Cities calls on the Government of Canada to accelerate investments in electric vehicles, building retrofits and clean energy, including a goal of rapidly replacing all remaining coal with renewables in order to create jobs and tackle the climate crisis.

Urban green and just recovery

Among the key findings in C40’s report Canada: The case for an urban green and just recovery, investment in a green and just recovery in 12 major cities in Canada is shown to:

  • Achieve a two-thirds reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, highlighting how cities can put Canada on track to deliver on its commitment to the Paris Agreement, and help achieve the urgent task of limiting global heating to below 1.5°C
  • Create and support nearly three million good, sustainable jobs by 2030 across major Canadian cities and their supply chains
  • Cut harmful air pollution by up to one third, preventing almost 4,000 premature deaths in major Canadian cities over the next decade
  • Deliver wider economic benefits of C$37bn from improved health by reducing air pollution and increasing public transport and active travel.

“Climate change is currently having significant impacts on our social fabric and municipalities’ financial bottom line. As a result, Canadians are asking governments at all levels to take action and move towards a low carbon future,” said Don Iveson, mayor of Edmonton.

“Investing in low carbon and green initiatives such as renewable and resilient energy transition strategies, the building of carbon-neutral communities, public transit and other low carbon transportation options ensures we’ll be able to mitigate the effects of climate change while capitalising and diversify our economy. A win-win for our economic and ecological future.”

“Canadians are asking governments at all levels to take action and move towards a low carbon future”

According to C40, Canada has already put forward a promising recovery and economic stimulus plan that clearly recognises the importance of investing in climate action and a national transition to clean energy. However, its analysis shows that, to capture the enormous economic, social, and health benefits of a green and just recovery, Canada must prioritise bold investment in cities at a greater scale and faster pace.

Among the specific calls to action for the Canadian Federal Government included in the research are:

  • Support provinces to rapidly decarbonise the whole electricity grid, providing sufficient policy and financial support to replace all remaining coal with renewables as swiftly as possible
  • Support for electrification of cars, vans and trucks – three-quarters of all private vehicles in major Canadian cities in 2030 will need to be electric, requiring an average replacement of five per cent per year. Given Canada’s current level of electric vehicles, which stands roughly at 0.5 per cent, significant federal support will be needed to accelerate change
  • Support for a faster pace of building retrofits. Current plans will only cover the costs to annually retrofit 0.2- to 0.3 per cent of Canada’s housing stock over the next seven years. The rate of retrofits in major Canadian cities needs to reach 6.5 per cent of the urban housing stock every year between 2020 and 2030.

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