OTTAWA, May 20, 2010 - The 'green race' is on and Canada needs to be ready to prosper in the transition to a global low-carbon economy, says a new report by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) released as part of its Climate Prosperity series.
The report, Measuring Up: Benchmarking Canada's Competitiveness in a Low-Carbon World, creates a new Low-Carbon Performance Index (LCPI) that tracks Canada's competitive performance in the global transition to a low-carbon economy.
'To succeed and prosper in this global low-carbon transition, we must first know how we stand against others,' says the NRTEE report. 'As the world moves to a low-carbon economy, Canada can win or lose. The choice is ours.'
The LCPI, developed with Deloitte, finds that Canada currently ranks sixth among the G8 nations when measured across five key categories and 15 comprehensive indicators necessary for low-carbon performance. The categories are emissions and energy, innovation, investment, skills, and policy and institutions. The Index measures a nation's level of clean technology investment, low-carbon financial stimulus and national-carbon pricing measures, as examples.
NRTEE Creates New G8 Low-Carbon Performance Index
While Canada ranks sixth overall among the G8, it is first in skills and third in innovation under the LCPI. Other rankings are fourth in investment, sixth in emissions and energy and sixth in policy and institutions. Canada's performance is just behind the United States and close to Japan, which together form a second- tier of low-carbon performing countries within the G8. The Index is led by a first-tier group of France, Germany, and the U.K. with Italy and Russia making up the third-tier.
Canada's ranking reflects the reality and challenges of our country's profile as an energy-producing and exporting country characterized by vast geography, a cold climate and dispersed population centres.
'The global low-carbon transition is both a challenge and an opportunity that we face,' said NRTEE Chair Bob Page. 'But the NRTEE believes Canada and Canadians are up to that challenge - that with the usual Canadian ingenuity, hard work and original policy ideas, Canada can become a world leader in the new economy to come.'
How we rank
Competitive advantage in the future will require advances on low-carbon performance for all countries. 'Carbon, like inflation, needs to be seen as ultimately weakening our economic performance, affecting the competitive position of Canadian exports,' said Mr. Page.
'The indicators chosen to create the Index are comparable across all countries and rigorous in their methodology,' said Valerie Chort, Partner, Sustainability and Climate Change at Deloitte. 'The Index reflects the view that prosperity in a low-carbon economy will result from success across a spectrum of performance areas. By bringing these performance areas together under one umbrella, the Index provides a starting point for understanding Canada's low-carbon growth opportunities.'
The NRTEE report recommends that the LCPI be updated and published regularly to measure progress, and that a second nationally-scoped low-carbon index be developed and used as the basis for developing a low-carbon growth plan for Canada.
'Climate prosperity is not just about coping with climate change, but prospering through it,' said NRTEE President and Chief Executive Officer David McLaughlin. 'Canada's resilient performance through the recession shows we have a strong overall economic foundation upon which to build.'
Measuring Up is the first report in a seven-part NRTEE series entitled Climate Prosperity, examining the economic risks and opportunities for Canada of climate change.
The NRTEE is a federally-appointed policy advisory agency dedicated to achieving environmental and economic sustainability.