Mr. Speaker, I rise today to once again reaffirm our commitment to tackling climate change. I will be splitting my time with the member for Northumberland—Peterborough South.
Canadians understand climate change is real, and they know governments at home and around the world must urgently address this challenge. It is the right thing to do for our children and grandchildren.
As we speak here today, Canadians and people around the world are being impacted by climate change, from severe storms and droughts, to sea level rise, to devastating floods. Sadly, as climate change accelerates, these impacts will not only worsen, they will bring crushing costs.
From 1983 to 2004, insurance claims in Canada from severe weather events were almost $400 million a year. In the past decade, that amount tripled to $1.2 billion a year. By 2020, climate change is expected to cost Canada's economy $5 billion a year, and as much as $43 billion a year by 2050.
If we do not act now, we will pass these growing costs on to future generations. That is exactly what the previous government did. By setting emissions targets without having a concrete plan to meet them, it jeopardized both the environment and the economy. We must not make the same mistake.
By making smart, sensible, and practical changes, we will avert the dangers of climate change and grasp the enormous economic opportunities of taking action, opportunities worth trillions of dollars around the world and good jobs at home.
Unlike the opposition party that voted to support the Paris agreement, but again and again refuse to tell Canadians what its climate plan is, we have a practical, cost-effective plan that will reduce emissions, create good-paying, middle-class jobs, and spur our clean growth economy.
A major component of our made-in-Canada climate plan is reducing costs for homes and businesses through energy efficiency. Reducing energy and saving Canadians money is a win-win for our environment and our economy. We know that families that invest in energy efficiency can cut their home heating bills in half, and we know that energy efficient homes and buildings have higher resale values.
Of course, these changes need not be overly complicated. Small investments can yield huge results. For instance, by using a programmable thermostat, people can save up to $150 a year. By putting energy-efficient light bulbs in the five light fixtures they use most frequently, people can save more than $65 a year.
One company in Alberta, Landmark Homes, makes net zero homes through better insulation, heating, and lighting, and many produce more energy than they consume. Today, we see homes like this being built across the country. In Edmonton, where Landmark Homes is based, the city has the highest number of net zero homes in the country.
Now, for provinces that have signed onto our climate plan, we are making it easier for people to reduce their energy use and save money through our low-carbon economy leadership fund. A few weeks ago I announced our government was investing $100 million to help the people of Ontario make energy efficient retrofits to their businesses and homes, including apartments, townhouses, and low-income housing.
By teaming up with the provincial government, the GreenOn rebates will help property owners make energy efficient changes like installing better insulation, high-efficiency ventilation systems, and other devices to save energy and reduce costs. We are launching programs like this across the country.
Last year, through the green municipal fund, we also invested $72 million to support energy efficiency projects in 48 communities.
The municipality of Saint-Ubalde, in Quebec, received some of that funding to install a district heating system for several buildings. The project, which creates energy by transforming residual forest biomass, will help the municipality cut its emissions by 218 tonnes and reduce long-term heating costs by 40% in the buildings using that system.
Investing in energy efficiency also creates good-paying middle-class jobs: jobs in construction, services, research, and manufacturing. That is why we are investing $21.9 billion in green infrastructure to build energy-efficient homes and offices, helping families save money on their energy bills and creating new jobs for Canadians.
In fact, over 100,000 Canadians were employed in energy efficiency jobs in 2013. A report just last year found that shifting to net zero emissions buildings could create just short of two million jobs over 33 years through construction from retrofitting and building new, green buildings.
We know that every dollar spent on energy efficiency programs generates between $4 and $8 of GDP. In other words, this is about reducing energy and saving money. It is equally about creating good jobs for Canadians across the country.
The opposition party wants Canadians to think that tackling climate change is a cost, but by failing to take action we see huge economic costs, and Canadians miss out on good jobs and major economic opportunities.
According to the World Bank, the Paris Agreement will help open up nearly $23 trillion in new opportunities for climate-smart investments in emerging markets around the world between now and 2030. Combined, this will spark incredible job creation, and that is why Canada is leading to take advantage of the opportunities.
We are investing $20.1 billion to support urban public transit to help reduce commute times in our cities, increase the use of clean transportation, and allow people to spend more time with their families and less time in traffic.
With a $2.2-billion investment, we are fostering clean tech research and development, production, and export. We are accelerating the growth of this industry to capture an increasing share of the global market.
Last year, I was in China on a trade mission and saw the rapid shift toward clean energy that country is making. As the world's largest producer of wind and solar electricity, China is expected to increase its power storage capacity tenfold by 2020. China now has the largest number of electric vehicles on the road, overtaking, for the first time, the number of electric vehicles in the United States.
While visiting the country, I met with representatives from Ballard Power Systems, a Canadian company from Burnaby, B.C. that makes fuel cells used in zero-emission vehicles. There, in Shanghai, I saw electric city buses using Ballard's technology. Ballard is commercializing and exporting clean energy solutions that are in demand in China and around the globe, and this is just one example of a Canadian company that is innovating, creating jobs, and selling its clean technologies.
To spur the kind of innovation and job creation I described, we also need to put a price on carbon pollution. Canadians know that polluting is not free. It has real costs. In fact, it is essentially a tax that we are passing on to the next generations.
Our climate plan includes a price on pollution, because it works. It is one of the lowest-cost tools to fight climate change and drive clean innovation. Just last week, we published a study that found that, by 2022, a nationwide price on carbon pollution that meets the federal standard would eliminate the emissions equivalent of taking between 23 million and 26 million cars off the road for a year, or closing 20 coal-fired plants. Already, over 80% of Canadians live in a province that has a price on carbon pollution: Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia. Last year, these provinces led the country in economic growth.
The time for politics is over. Taking action on climate change should not be a partisan issue, but, sadly, that is what the Conservatives are making it. Through our made-in-Canada climate plan, we are pricing carbon pollution, phasing out coal-fired electricity, and investing in public transit, green infrastructure, and clean technologies. In doing so, we are sending a strong signal to investors and to the world. Canada will create good-paying middle-class jobs, drive clean innovation, and be a leader in the clean growth century. That is what Canadians expect us to do, and that is what we are doing.
Our government will continue acting in the interest of our environment and our economy, because we owe it to our kids and our grandkids.