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Good green jobs key to low-carbon future

For many years, CUPE has pushed federal, provincial and municipal governments to spend more on environmental priorities. Together with other members of the Green Economy Network we’ve called for investments in public transit and high speed rail, building retrofits and other energy efficiency measures, and public renewable energy.

Now the new government says it is making the environment a priority, and has signed the climate change agreement reached last December in Paris. It’s urgent that our federal and provincial governments follow up with action.

The Paris agreement signals progress on climate change, but cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions need to intensify to slow the worst effects of a warming world. The Harper government set emissions reduction targets that were widely criticized as too low. Canada’s GHG emissions are now projected to overshoot even the Harper government’s 2020 target by 24 per cent, or by 146 megatons of carbon dioxide and other climate-altering gases.

Our governments must take urgent action on climate change by making public buildings and facilities more environmentally friendly and energy efficient, investing in clean public power generation, and expanding public transit networks. Fully public services and infrastructure are the best way to meet our climate goals, and will create good, green jobs.

The Green Economy Network has estimated that investing $80.9 billion over five years in their three priorities will create one million person years of employment – a million green jobs – and reduce Canada’s GHG emissions by between 88 and 261 megatons. Even at the lower end, this would go a long way to achieving and exceeding the reductions Canada has pledged for 2020.

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