Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Winnipeg North.
It is my pleasure today to rise in this debate. In our campaign platform, we were very clear. We promised to provide national leadership on climate change, to take action to reduce emissions, and yes, to put a price on carbon pollution. To respond to the hon. member's question, I will outline why and how such action is to work.
In late October, the United Nations delivered a message that put climate matters into sharp focus. The UN World Meteorological Organization said it had found concentrations of carbon dioxide had reached record levels at 400 parts per million in the atmosphere. To put this into perspective, that level is almost 50% higher than before the industrial revolution. However, the WMO findings were not considered significant, simply because of how they compared today's GHG emissions to those in the past; it was really what they said about the future. Carbon dioxide levels are not expected to drop below these latest recorded levels for many generations, even assuming very aggressive global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the WMO went on to say. It called its findings, “a new era of climate change reality”.
This year, the UN confirmed that 2016 was the hottest year on record, hotter than 2015 and 2014. Every year, the temperature rises and the effects of climate change become increasingly obvious.
Climate change is not a distant threat, something only for future generations to worry about. It is affecting us now, here at home and around the world. In the Arctic, where temperature increases in some areas are twice as high as the rest of the planet, ice cover is rapidly thinning, putting lives and traditions at risk. In the west, wildfires rage longer and harsher than ever before, leaving local economies devastated and thousands of Canadians without homes.
Insurance claims for severe storm damage now average $1 billion a year, up from $300 million at the turn of the century. The national round table on the environment and the economy estimated that the domestic costs associated with climate change could rise to $43 billion per year by 2050.
The science of climate change is unequivocal. Our ability to respond with long-term solutions could potentially change the course of human history. It is absolutely vital that we address the problems of climate change with concrete action if we want to leave a better world for our children .
Addressing climate change in effective ways also, however, represents an enormous economic opportunity. Whole new industries of very significant size will be created by those who act quickly to develop and deploy new technologies that enable cost-effective progress toward such a future.
This is, in some sense, a race. It is one that Canada started on fairly early, but it is one in which we have recently been flagging. Over the past decade, Canada's share of global clean tech exports has shrunk by half. This was a product, in significant measure, of the lack of interest and the lack of commitment on the part of the previous government. This is now a significant challenge, but for Canada to maintain and enhance its current level of prosperity, this is a race that we simply cannot afford to lose.
The global opportunity is immense and growing. In 2015, there was record investment of nearly $350 billion in the global clean energy sector, up from just over $60 billion in 2004.
The International Energy Agency estimates that the full implementation of climate pledges made under the Paris agreement would require the energy sector to invest $13.5 trillion in energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies between 2015 and 2030.
As a result of technological progress, the costs for renewable energy have been falling significantly over time and have become cost-competitive with fossil fuels in certain regions. In fact, in 2013, for the first time ever, the world added more renewable energy capacity than it added capacity from all fossil fuels combined. Clean energy investment continued to break records in 2015, and is now seeing twice as much global funding as fossil fuels.
The clean tech sector is already an important contributor to Canada's economy. Canada is home to more than 800 clean technology companies. It is an industry that employs more Canadians than the forestry, pharmaceutical, or medical device manufacturing industries.
The sector grew three times as fast as the economy as a whole between 2008 and 2013. However, during that same period, the global clean tech market grew at even faster rate of 10%, suggesting that we have work to do to keep up with other countries.
Canada's clean technology companies are led by innovative entrepreneurs developing technologies like carbon capture and storage, next generation biofuels, advanced batteries for electric vehicles, and cleaner oil sands extraction processes among many others.
In 2014, Canada's clean technology sector spent $1.2 billion on research and development, which is more than 8% of Canada's total business expenditures on R and D.
Going forward, supporting investment in clean technology, if done in a thoughtful and strategic way, can grow our economy, create good jobs, and help Canadian businesses to be at the forefront of the clean energy revolution. Countries that innovate will have a competitive advantage. A price on carbon will help to drive innovation and will help to give Canada a competitive advantage in the clean tech space. This has been demonstrated in my home province of British Columbia. The clean tech sector I was part of, as a senior executive and a chief executive officer for 20 years, was energized by Premier Campbell's decision, in 2008, to implement a price on carbon pollution.
To address both the threat and the opportunity associated with climate change, the federal government worked through 2016 with the provinces and territories to develop the pan-Canadian framework on climate change and clean growth. This framework represents a plan to grow the Canadian economy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and help our communities to adapt to a changing climate. The focus of the document is on creating a road map as to how Canada will reduce domestic emissions and transition toward a clean growth economy; a transition that will be necessary for the collective health, prosperity, and security for this generation of Canadians and for generations to come.
Key initiatives identified in the framework include the following: accelerating the phase-out of highly polluting traditional coal power; developing a clean fuels standard to stimulate greater user of biofuels; investing in public transit and electric vehicle infrastructure; taking action on short-lived climate pollutants, including hydrofluorocarbons; and pricing carbon pollution.
Carbon pricing is one of the key measures that will provide a clear signal to businesses under the pan-Canadian framework. Carbon pricing is broadly recognized as one of the most effective, transparent, and efficient policy approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while fostering innovation.
Many provinces are already leading the way on carbon pricing. In fact, 80% of Canadians already live in a provincial jurisdiction that has chosen to implement a price on carbon pollution. Building on existing and planned provincial action, the government is moving toward ensuring that pricing of carbon pollution exists across Canada. The pricing of carbon pollution sends a clear signal to drive innovation and creates the right conditions and incentives for companies and individuals to reduce their emissions.
All revenues from a price on carbon pollution will remain in the provinces and territories to use as they see fit, whether to give back to consumers; support workers and their families; help the vulnerable, including communities in the north; or to support businesses that innovate and create good jobs for the middle class.
The pricing of carbon pollution has been endorsed by economists, by leading Canadian businesses, and indeed by many leading Conservatives, including Preston Manning, Mark Cameron, Ontario Conservative leader Patrick Brown, and some MPs from across the way.
Let me just briefly quote a couple of leading voices on the issue of carbon pricing.
Cenovus Energy, for example, has said that it supports a price on carbon pollution, “Having a price on carbon is one of the fairest and best ways to stimulate innovation to reduce the emissions associated with oil.”
Do the members in the House of Commons really believe that pollution, with all its detrimental effects on our environment, our economy, and our world, should be free? Should individuals have the right to pollute anywhere without consequences?
On this side of the House, we are delivering for Canadians by pricing pollution to protect our environment and drive innovation. As a parent of two teenage daughters, I got into politics in 2015 in large part to be part of addressing the climate issue in a thoughtful and substantive way. Pricing carbon pollution is part of any reasonable and thoughtful approach if one is serious about combatting climate change.
Our children and our grandchildren should not have—