The Honourable Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources GLOBE Forum 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia
March 15, 2018
[Check against delivery]
Thank you and good morning everyone.
I want to acknowledge that we are meeting on the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.
Such acknowledgements are more than a formality — they are a reminder that the first peoples who inhabited this land were also its first protectors.
For 28 years, the GLOBE Forum has challenged us to capture the opportunities presented by a sustainable future. To make the connection between growing our economy and protecting the environment. To honour our obligations to those who will follow.
We know that the world is in the midst of something that has only happened a few times in history — a fundamental shift in the types of energy that power our societies.
The pace of that transition may vary from country to country, but it is underway and it is irreversible.
When it comes to Canada’s plan to build a sustainable future, it can be easy to get lost in the details of the daily news and announcements. To lose the thread that connects them. Or even to see that there is a thread at all.
So today, I want to try to give you a sense of how all the various pieces fit together. An overall picture of where we’re trying to go and how we’re going to get there.
When we came to office, we started from a very simple premise: that this is going to be the century of clean growth. Today, the economy and the environment are inseparable. You can’t talk of one without considering the other.
Climate change is forcing all of us to think differently about how we power our factories, heat our homes and fuel our vehicles. And about the importance of using both traditional and renewable energy more efficiently.
This isn’t just another issue. We’re not talking about tinkering with a particular government policy or deciding whether to build a road somewhere. We’re talking about the future of our planet.
We’re talking about creating a fundamentally new direction for our economy, redefining how we see our connectedness to other nations. And about the importance of global action.
Which is why one of the first things we did after forming government was to sign the Paris Climate Accord and join Mission Innovation.
And why we worked with the provinces, territories and Indigenous groups to develop the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.
It does many of the things that must be done in order to set us on a new course: it puts a price on carbon to encourage businesses and consumers to change their energy habits.
It accelerates the phasing out of traditional coal-powered electricity and brings new energy sources onto the grid. And it invests in green infrastructure such as a national network of electric vehicle charging stations.
In developing this plan, we understood that while climate change is one of the major challenges of our generation, it is also the opportunity of a lifetime.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance expects that more than $5 trillion will be invested in new renewable-energy capacity by 2030. And Bank of England Governor Mark Carney calls clean growth a $30 trillion economic opportunity.
This where Canada’s future lies. This is what the global future demands.
And that’s why we’re developing a Canadian Energy Strategy. Building on what the provinces and territories have already done. Rethinking the way we use energy, linking those provinces who have an abundance of clean electricity with those who are trying to get there.
According to the International Energy Agency, global demand for energy will increase by 30 percent by 2040. Even under the most optimistic scenarios for renewable energy, much of that increased demand will have to be met by fossil fuels. Which means that the world will continue to rely on oil and gas for some time.
So, the world is heading toward a clean future, but will continue to need oil and gas for many years to come. If you’re a country like Canada that is rich in those resources, what do you do?
You do two things. First, you invest massively in clean technology, energy efficiency, renewable energy and green infrastructure — the growth areas of today and tomorrow.
Second, you leverage investments in conventional energy sources, improve their environmental performance and use the revenues they generate to invest even more in clean energy.
That’s exactly what our government is doing. We’re making generational investments — some $22 billion, over 11 years — to support green infrastructure, drive clean growth and combat climate change.
In just the past few months, we have invested in smart electricity grids, electric and alternative fuel charging stations, more energy-efficient homes and help for northern communities to move off diesel.
Each of these takes us a step closer to the future we want: a country driven by clean technology and defined by innovation.
We’re also re-imagining carbon, by turning otherwise harmful carbon dioxide emissions into valuable products: building materials, alternative fuels and consumer goods.
Then there’s energy efficiency — an area that’s too often overlooked. According to the International Energy Agency, improving energy efficiency could get us almost half way to our Paris commitments.
Think of that. Half way. We’ve proposed new building codes that will require our homes and offices to do more with less and transform the use of energy in this country for generations to come.
So, that’s the first half of the equation — investing in a fundamentally different economic model based on clean growth.
The second part is developing our oil and gas resources.
Remember, our plan is to use this time of transition to Canada’s advantage — by building the infrastructure to get our resources to global markets — and using the revenues to invest in clean forms of energy.
In other words, we are leveraging the fossil fuel resources we have today to deliver clean-energy solutions for tomorrow.
That’s why we’ve approved pipelines, including the Trans Mountain Expansion, and we’re determined to see them built.
At the same time, we made the single-largest investment ever to protect Canada’s oceans and coastlines, including this spectacular B.C. coast, with a $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan.
In order to develop our resources, we also had to overcome another problem.
Under the previous government, Canadians had lost faith in the way major resource projects were reviewed. There was a sense that environmental concerns had been pushed to the back burner. And that Indigenous peoples weren’t being meaningfully consulted.
We agreed. So we did a couple of things.
Last month, we tabled legislation that would establish a new environmental assessment and regulatory system that will help restore investor confidence, rebuild public trust and advance Indigenous reconciliation — all while ensuring good projects go ahead and our energy resources get to markets responsibly.
Second, we reached out to Indigenous communities as never before. With meaningful consultations. Listening more than we spoke.
Just a few weeks ago, we took another historic step, with a new approach based on recognizing and implementing inherent rights.
This new path will move us from confrontation to collaboration. It will reduce the time and cost of recognizing rights. Accelerate the resolution of land claims. Create greater predictability for resource projects. And enable Indigenous communities to pursue their own priorities.
All of these are reflected in the budget we tabled last month. A budget that promotes clean growth, improves opportunities for Indigenous communities, and delivers the single largest investment in fundamental science since Confederation.
A budget that encourages businesses to invest in clean energy and use more energy-efficient equipment.
A budget that invests in cybersecurity for critical infrastructure such as electricity grids and information networks.
A budget that recognizes that Canada won’t get ahead if half of its population is held back — that investing in women isn’t just the right thing to do — it’s the smart thing to do.
More broadly, it’s a budget that aims to build exactly the kind of future that the GLOBE envisions — one where science, curiosity and innovation spur economic growth.
I began by saying we are in the midst of a fundamental transition. Canadians are seized of this moment. How do I know? We asked them — through Generation Energy, the largest engagement on energy in our nation’s history.
Many of you were part of that incredible project. Canadians told us they want a thriving, low-carbon economy. They want us to be a leader in clean technology. And they want an energy system that provides equal opportunities to Canadians while minimizing harm to the environment.
They also understand that we’re not there yet. We need to prepare for the future, but we must also deal with the present — by providing energy that they can count on when they flick on a light or fill up their car.
That means continuing to support our oil and gas resources even as we develop alternatives — such as solar, wind, biomass and tidal.
It means taking a clear-eyed view of what’s coming at us and turning those massive waves of change to our advantage.
We’ve planted our flag firmly in the clean growth future. And we’re executing on that plan, step by step. Day by day. Month by month.
By ratifying the Paris Accord. Putting a price on carbon. Investing in clean technology and infrastructure. Accelerating the phase out of coal. Creating a world-class Oceans Protection Plan. Making historic investments in science. Approving vital pipelines. And, together with our provincial and territorial colleagues, developing a national plan for combating climate change.
Yes, lots of moving pieces. Lots of different elements. But all aimed at a single goal: making Canada a leader in the clean growth economy and ensuring our long-term competitiveness.
Let’s keep our eyes on that larger goal. On hastening the transition to a clean-energy future. Where the jobs will be. Where the opportunities lie. Where the world is headed.
Through organizations like GLOBE, we’re discovering how to do that better. Creating the prosperity we all seek while preserving the environment we all cherish.
My thanks for your leadership — and for reminding all of us that the best way to predict the future is to create it.