Lib­er­als plan fund to spur green tech

Lethbridge Herald - - Business | Agricultur­e - Christo­pher Reynolds THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

The Trudeau gov­ern­ment says it will launch a new fund to spur in­vest­ments and jobs in green tech­nol­ogy as it seeks a bal­ance be­tween the com­pet­ing vi­sions of en­vi­ron­men­tal ad­vo­cates and legacy in­dus­tries.

In the throne speech de­liv­ered Wed­nes­day by Gov. Gen. Julie Payette, the Lib­er­als out­lined plans to spend on build­ing retrofits, clean en­ergy and pro­duc­tion of elec­tric ve­hi­cles as the next phase in the fight against cli­mate change.

“Global con­sumers and in­vestors are de­mand­ing and re­ward­ing cli­mate ac­tion,” the speech reads. “We can cre­ate good jobs to­day and a glob­ally com­pet­i­tive econ­omy not just next year, but in 2030, 2040, and be­yond.”

The ad­dress, which out­lines the gov­ern­ment’s pri­or­i­ties for the new ses­sion of Par­lia­ment, briefly men­tioned the coun­try’s en­ergy sec­tor, pri­mar­ily to high­light the goal of net­zero car­bon emis­sions by 2050.

The gov­ern­ment said it will “sup­port (the) man­u­fac­tur­ing, nat­u­ral re­source and en­ergy sec­tors as they work to trans­form to meet a net zero fu­ture, cre­at­ing good-pay­ing and long-last­ing jobs.”

Other mea­sures in­cluded in the speech were plans to cut the cor­po­rate tax rate in half for clean-tech com­pa­nies, sup­port for home and build­ing retrofits and mak­ing elec­tric cars more af­ford­able along with adding more charg­ing sta­tions na­tion­wide.

This new clean growth plank builds on pre­vi­ous com­mit­ments to car­bon pric­ing and com­prises a “cor­ner­stone” of its freshly an­nounced goal of cre­at­ing one mil­lion jobs to re­store em­ploy­ment to pre­vi­ous lev­els.

Tech en­trepreneur­s stepped ten­ta­tively on board, with some main­tain­ing a wait-and-see ap­proach.

“The out­line looks good, but it’s re­ally the colour­ing that re­ally mat­ters,” said

Ben­jamin Ber­gen, head of the high-tech lobby group Coun­cil of Cana­dian In­no­va­tors.

Ber­gen called for a com­mit­ment to back Cana­dian clean-tech en­ter­prises over for­eign ones in or­der to achieve a “dou­ble whammy.”

“The one win is ac­tu­ally the en­vi­ron­men­tal com­po­nent, but the other is meet­ing your eco­nomic goals and ... mak­ing sure that do­mes­tic in­no­va­tors are the ones that are get­ting the pur­chase or­ders,” he said.

The speech fleshed out the Lib­eral agenda to put en­ergy com­pa­nies on a more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly path that meets a new clean-fuel stan­dard.

Sched­uled to take ef­fect in 2022, the fuel stan­dard re­quires firms to re­duce the amount of green­house gases pro­duced when liq­uid and gaseous fu­els are burned by cut­ting emis­sions through­out the sup­ply chain from ex­trac­tion to con­sump­tion.

A day ear­lier, the Cana­dian As­so­ci­a­tion of Petroleum Pro­duc­ers re­leased a doc­u­ment em­pha­siz­ing the role of the oil and gas in­dus­try in cre­at­ing jobs and gen­er­at­ing wealth while meet­ing cli­mate ob­jec­tives.

“As a part of the highly in­te­grated in­ter­na­tional en­ergy sys­tem, Canada’s oil and nat­u­ral gas in­dus­try is well po­si­tioned to pro­vide ex­per­tise in both science and tech­nol­ogy to re­duce emis­sions at home and around the world,” the pa­per states.

Trudeau may have set his gov­ern­ment up for clashes with cli­mate strik­ers, who threat­ened mass protests if the throne speech did not un­furl a plan to elim­i­nate all green­house-gas emis­sions pro­duced by hu­man ac­tiv­i­ties in Canada within a decade.

The Lib­er­als have pre­vi­ously promised to cut emis­sions by about one-third by 2030, which was men­tioned in the throne speech.

It also re­it­er­ated the plan to ban cer­tain sin­gle-use plas­tics in 2021, plant two bil­lion trees and pro­tect onequar­ter of the coun­try’s lands and oceans by 2025.

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