Canada's Green New Deal: Forging the socio-political foundations of climate resilient infrastructure?
A global movement is underway to harness the power of coordinated state policy to address the significant and interrelated challenges of environmental degradation, climate change, poverty, and energy insecurity. In May 2019 a grassroots coalition comprising a range of civil society groups—scientists, labour unions, Indigenous peoples, and youth—launched the Pact for a Green New Deal (PGND) in Canada, with more than 150 town hall meetings across the country. Participants called for 100% renewable energy, phase out of the oil sands, a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030, and the creation of 1 million new green jobs and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples . A significant reorientation to the scale and direction of government expenditure, as happened in the American New Deal of the 1930s, can spur technical innovation but can also exacerbate inequalities. A Canadian green transition is significant globally given its high energy production, exports, and internal use. In this perspective piece we examine the transformative potential of a Canadian PGND by focusing on the social and political characteristics of energy infrastructure: the potential for 100% renewable energy, transitions for oil sands, energy democracy, Indigenous energy leadership, gender equity, and energy poverty. The actor coalitions emerging from these then forge specific energy transition pathways, whether just and inclusive, or not. The Canadian case highlights the complexities and opportunities that accompany countries with large geographies, fraught geo-political histories, strong federalism, inequalities of access to clean affordable energy, and an abundance of renewable energy. ; ISSN:2214-6296