·  Clean Economy Alliance

Steelworkers, Clean Economy Alliance Call for Leadership on Climate Change

Toronto - Over 50 organizations representing a broad cross-section of Ontarians have united to urge Ontario to show leadership in addressing the crucial issue of climate change.

Calling themselves the Clean Economy Alliance, the group includes many prominent Ontario businesses, labour unions, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, health charities, and environmental groups. The alliance has come together to show support for the Ontario government's commitments to develop a climate change strategy and put a price on carbon.

The alliance and its members highlight the many benefits that follow from reducing carbon pollution such as cleaner air, improved public health, more jobs, and new business opportunities.

"The members of this alliance have come together because we know that dealing with climate change is the right thing to do. But it's also a good thing to do: good for communities, good for employment, good for our economy, and good for our environment," says Tim Gray, Executive Director, Environmental Defence. "Any claims that carbon pricing will damage the economy should be dismissed. Jurisdictions around the world are putting a price on carbon. In those places, the sky has not fallen, but emissions have."

"The Steelworkers have long held the position that climate change is a serious threat that we must address. And we also know that, from building more renewable energy, increasing energy efficiency, and building public transit, addressing climate change can create more jobs," says Ken Neumann, Canadian National Director of the United Steelworkers.

"We need to be clear that climate change is an important and urgent health issue. It's not just about future generations. It's about our health now. Ontario's largest climate change initiative - the closure of the coal plants - was also one of the most significant advances we've made to improve public health. In 2005, there were over 50 smog advisories in this province. Last year, there were none," says Rob Oliphant, Asthma Society of Canada.

"Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time, but one we believe can be addressed in ways that support a strong and innovative economy. A price on carbon is an important part of the solution, as are supportive policies and investments in resilient low-carbon communities. The cement industry has been doing its part and stands ready to do more. We hope others will join us," says Michael McSweeney, President and CEO, Cement Association of Canada.

"Farmers know that the climate is changing. And farmers want to be part of the solution. Agriculture currently produces only 6 per cent of Ontario's emissions, but we can provide at least double that amount in terms of the solution," says Don McCabe, President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.

"Thanks to Ontario's leadership on climate change, Ontarians are starting to have a taste of what business looks like in the clean economy. This province is home to 35 per cent of Canada's cleantech companies and the sector is poised for tremendous growth in the years ahead. Strong government policy will ensure that Ontario-based businesses stay ahead of the curve on low-carbon innovation, and enjoy a greater share of the global market for clean technologies," says Tom Rand, MaRS Cleantech practice lead. 

In addition to articulating the benefits of climate action, the alliance has outlined some principles that should guide the province's approach to carbon pricing. Ontario has committed to announcing what approach it will take sometime this spring.

For more information about the Clean Economy Alliance, including a list of members, please visit cleaneconomyalliance.ca

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For media requests, please contact:

Naomi Carniol, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521, ext. 258, 416-570-2878, ncarniol@environmentaldefence.ca

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416-544-5966 or
416-434-2221

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416-544-5991 

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Clairandrée Cauchy
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United Steelworkers
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Toronto, ON M4P 1K7