Monday, July 18, 2011

Ontario Urged to Stay with Green Energy Act

Ontario’s Green Energy Act is “good for consumers, good for business and good for workers,” says the ex-chief of staff for former president Bill Clinton. He also warned Canadians about the fear and misinformation campaigns from entrenched interests in the old energy economy.

On Tuesday June 13, John Podesta who now heads the Center for American Progress, told a Toronto audience at the MaRS centre that fossil fuels are increasingly expensive, dangerous to health and bad for the climate. Nuclear power, which supplies about half of Ontario’s electricity is “a really expensive option,” he said.

Podesta indicated that investing in energy efficiency and clean energy are the best choices. These sectors are projected to be worth $2.3 trillion world-wide by the end of this decade, he said.

Ontario’s Green Energy Act and the province’s agreement with Samsung will spur $7 billion in investment. Although China and Europe are racing to be leaders in the green economy Ontario is well positioned to take advantage of the new economy, he said.

The US, on the other hand, may not fare so well: “If we [the US] don’t develop a comprehensive policy that focuses on commercialization, production, deployment and export, we will look up in 10 years time and find ourselves not the great leader on clean energy, but the great buyer of it.”

Podesta warned Canadians about “entrenched special interests that spread misinformation and fear.” Although he pointed to green initiatives in Pennsylvania and California, major players in the old economy are vociferously trying to undermine the push towards green energy.

Those interested in making the transition to a low carbon economy have “got to be full-throated in making the case,” he said.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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