Twin benefits

 
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015 | 02:50:09 AM

A new energy programme developed by the Sierra Club, Canada, in collaboration with the Climate Action Network -- a coalition of NGOs working together to mitigate climate change -- could not only help in lowering the unemployment rate but also keep the global warming threat at bay. Christened the Rational Energy Programme (REP), Sierra Club estimates that it could create an additional 1.5 million jobs.

Basically a package of initiatives, REP has been designed to improve energy efficiency in transportation, building and industrial sectors and simultaneously increase the use of renewable energy in the electricity sector. The REP could lead to secondary energy demand falling by 13 per cent by the year 2010, thereby reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 22 per cent. The programme recommends that federal and provincial governments move from a primarily voluntary approach to one that includes regulating higher energy efficiency standards for vehicles, building retrofits, appliances and equipment and ensuring that the deregulation of the electricity sectors results in increasing the usage of renewable energy.

A survey of various provinces showed that each province had a different greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction potential. For instance, while British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec could achieve GHG reductions in the transportation sector, Alberta and Ontario had the greatest impact in industrial initiatives. Thus, each province, according to its abilities, could take up one project with real potential for reducing GHG emissions. Each initiative would be different and can be replicated across the country. And each province undertaking transportation, industrial, commercial building or utility initiatives agrees to share the results with all provinces. According to the World Energy Council, Canada's GHG emissions, at 5.6 per cent, far exceeded the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development average of four per cent between 1990 and 1995.

REP, therefore, requires a strong government action to achieve results and also involves close cooperation among the provinces. Sierra Club notes that Canada should increase its energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy at a rate faster than the growth of economy and population.

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