- GTEC Green Technology Education Centre

Eight Principles for Economic Recovery

We suggest the following principles to guide BC’s COVID-19 recovery efforts and be used to score proposed stimulus initiatives:

  1. Does it prioritize the public good and support efforts to build a more just, ecologically sustainable and resilient society by tackling urgent concerns such as the climate emergency, the biodiversity emergency and the affordable housing crisis?
  2. Does it strengthen areas of supply chain vulnerability such as local food production and the manufacture of essential medical goods, while providing secure employment and pay for essential service workers?
  3. Does it advance the need to develop sustainable business practices and products, and a circular economy with zero waste?
  4. Does it create numerous training and job opportunities for those who are unemployed, particularly for young people who are looking at a very worrying future in a depressed economy?
  5. Does it support BC’s most vulnerable people, including seniors, members of First Nations, the homeless, the unemployed, migrant farm workers, single parents, and those who live below the poverty line?
  6. Is it a practical, cost-effective way to achieve rapid results?
  7. Does it engage human and community agency, and the public’s desire to participate in a green recovery?
  8. Does it require any benefiting business to commit to pay any taxes that have been avoided by means of an offshore bank or tax haven?

Support for Indigenous Communities

The GTEC Council would like to voice its support for Indigenous Reconciliation and measures to include Indigenous communities in BC’s economic recovery. Since we did not have indigenous representation on the Council, however, due to time limitations, we have not made extensive recommendations.

A Portfolio of Possibilities

Recommendations by Ministry:

Proposals for Cabinet

  1. Establish a Resilient Recovery Action Team

We recommend that the government:

  • Establish a Resilient Recovery Action Team and charge it with developing a Resilient Recovery Plan, including stimulus measures such as those described below that create jobs and restore consumer, business and investor confidence while steering BC towards becoming a more just, sustainable, resilient society. Such an Action Team is critically needed. It will not duplicate the work being done by the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, and it will build on work done by the Emerging Economy Task Force.
  1. Leverage ‘Doughnut Economy’ Thinking for Recovery Planning

The City of Amsterdam has chosen to use the British economist Kate Raworth’s model based on her best-selling book Doughnut Economics: 7 Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist to guide its recovery, moving her work from the realm of theory into practical reality.[1]

The adoption of such a model could guide BC to a future in which all British Columbians thrive within our natural habitat, while respecting the health of the planet and the wellbeing of people worldwide and strengthening the status of BC as a global leader and innovator.

We recommend that the government:

  • Use measures broader than GDP to guide genuine progress, as recommended by the Emerging Economy Task Force, enabling the government to lead BC towards greater social, economic and ecological well-being, as well as economic prosperity.[2]

 

 

  1. Impose Financial Support and Bail-out Conditions

Whenever government grants or loans are provided to business, we recommend that the following conditions be put in place, that:

  1. Companies must have significant operations and employees in BC.
  2. Companies must demonstrate that they have paid all relevant taxes. If they have used offshore accounts in tax havens to reduce or avoid paying taxes, an arrangement must be made to ensure that the avoided taxes are paid as a condition of receiving assistance.
  3. Companies must demonstrate that they have active measurable plans to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
  4. Companies must not be involved in an active insolvency agreement.
  5. Grants or loans should not be used for executive pay, bonuses, share-buyback schemes or shareholder dividends.
  6. If large bail-outs are not repaid within a year, the government should have the right to take an equity-stake in the company, and to appoint members to the company board.
  7. These conditions should be public, with proper oversight and annual reporting on how they are being met.

Proposal for the Ministry of Energy, Mines and PetroleumResources

  1. Complete 30,000 Home Retrofits a Year

BC’s buildings generate 11% of BC’s carbon pollution. In some cities such as Vancouver the percentage of emissions is much higher. At the current slow rate of retrofits we will not achieve the reduction of oil and gas heat needed to meet our CleanBC climate targets. To meet them for buildings, the Pembina Institute reports that every year between 2020 and 2050 BC will need to retrofit:

  • 30,000 houses
  • 17,000 apartments
  • 3 million square feet of commercial space.[3]

 

Every dollar spent on energy-efficiency programs generates between $4-$8 of gross domestic product, and industry data suggests that every $1 million invested supports 20 jobs (direct, indirect and induced). There are tens of thousands of jobs that could be created if BC were to adopt a determined approach to achieving mass deep zero-carbon retrofits, accelerating Efficiency BC’s and BetterHomes BC’s current initiatives.

We thank the Home Performance Stakeholders Council for their draft thoughts supporting some of these recommendations.[4] We recommend that the government:

Retrofit Foundations

  1. Form a Retrofit Partnership to generate rapid results, aiming at mass, deep neighbourhood-scale retrofits that reduce energy demand and eliminate all use of oil, gas and wood for heating and hot water by 2030 through the installation of air-source, ground-source or water-source heat pumps.
  2. Legislate the phase-out of all oil furnaces by 2025 and all gas furnaces and heaters by 2030, followed by an annually-increasing Climate Danger Levy on their continued use.
  3. Fund municipalities and non-profits such as Lighthouse to operate Green Buildings Hubs, creating a one-stop-shop staffed by trained advisors to offer all the information and guidance that building-owners need.

Engage municipalities, community associations, non-profits and building retrofit contractors in developing localized plans for mass deep retrofits, scaling up demand, increasing performance efficiency, and reducing costs through the aggregation of projects, logistics

[1] Amsterdam: https://www.kateraworth.com/2020/04/08/amsterdam-city-doughnut/

[2] Emerging Economy Task Force Report: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/employment-business-and-economic-development/economic-development/emerging-economy-task-force/eetf-final_report-20200511-final.pdf

 

[3] Pembina: https://www.pembina.org/op-ed/retrofit-existing-buildings

[4] Home Performance Stakeholders Council: http://www.homeperformance.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Pre-Presentation_Content_HPSC_Financial_Stimulus_Options_4May2020.docx.pdf

Eight Principles for Economic Recovery

We suggest the following principles to guide BC’s COVID-19 recovery efforts and be used to score proposed stimulus initiatives:

  1. Does it prioritize the public good and support efforts to build a more just, ecologically sustainable and resilient society by tackling urgent concerns such as the climate emergency, the biodiversity emergency and the affordable housing crisis?
  2. Does it strengthen areas of supply chain vulnerability such as local food production and the manufacture of essential medical goods, while providing secure employment and pay for essential service workers?
  3. Does it advance the need to develop sustainable business practices and products, and a circular economy with zero waste?
  4. Does it create numerous training and job opportunities for those who are unemployed, particularly for young people who are looking at a very worrying future in a depressed economy?
  5. Does it support BC’s most vulnerable people, including seniors, members of First Nations, the homeless, the unemployed, migrant farm workers, single parents, and those who live below the poverty line?
  6. Is it a practical, cost-effective way to achieve rapid results?
  7. Does it engage human and community agency, and the public’s desire to participate in a green recovery?
  8. Does it require any benefiting business to commit to pay any taxes that have been avoided by means of an offshore bank or tax haven?

Support for Indigenous Communities

The GTEC Council would like to voice its support for Indigenous Reconciliation and measures to include Indigenous communities in BC’s economic recovery. Since we did not have indigenous representation on the Council, however, due to time limitations, we have not made extensive recommendations.

A Portfolio of Possibilities

Recommendations by Ministry:

Proposals for Cabinet

  1. Establish a Resilient Recovery Action Team

We recommend that the government:

  • Establish a Resilient Recovery Action Team and charge it with developing a Resilient Recovery Plan, including stimulus measures such as those described below that create jobs and restore consumer, business and investor confidence while steering BC towards becoming a more just, sustainable, resilient society. Such an Action Team is critically needed. It will not duplicate the work being done by the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, and it will build on work done by the Emerging Economy Task Force.
  1. Leverage ‘Doughnut Economy’ Thinking for Recovery Planning

The City of Amsterdam has chosen to use the British economist Kate Raworth’s model based on her best-selling book Doughnut Economics: 7 Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist to guide its recovery, moving her work from the realm of theory into practical reality.[1]

The adoption of such a model could guide BC to a future in which all British Columbians thrive within our natural habitat, while respecting the health of the planet and the wellbeing of people worldwide and strengthening the status of BC as a global leader and innovator.

We recommend that the government:

  • Use measures broader than GDP to guide genuine progress, as recommended by the Emerging Economy Task Force, enabling the government to lead BC towards greater social, economic and ecological well-being, as well as economic prosperity.[2]

 

 

  1. Impose Financial Support and Bail-out Conditions

Whenever government grants or loans are provided to business, we recommend that the following conditions be put in place, that:

  1. Companies must have significant operations and employees in BC.
  2. Companies must demonstrate that they have paid all relevant taxes. If they have used offshore accounts in tax havens to reduce or avoid paying taxes, an arrangement must be made to ensure that the avoided taxes are paid as a condition of receiving assistance.
  3. Companies must demonstrate that they have active measurable plans to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
  4. Companies must not be involved in an active insolvency agreement.
  5. Grants or loans should not be used for executive pay, bonuses, share-buyback schemes or shareholder dividends.
  6. If large bail-outs are not repaid within a year, the government should have the right to take an equity-stake in the company, and to appoint members to the company board.
  7. These conditions should be public, with proper oversight and annual reporting on how they are being met.

Proposal for the Ministry of Energy, Mines and PetroleumResources

  1. Complete 30,000 Home Retrofits a Year

BC’s buildings generate 11% of BC’s carbon pollution. In some cities such as Vancouver the percentage of emissions is much higher. At the current slow rate of retrofits we will not achieve the reduction of oil and gas heat needed to meet our CleanBC climate targets. To meet them for buildings, the Pembina Institute reports that every year between 2020 and 2050 BC will need to retrofit:

  • 30,000 houses
  • 17,000 apartments
  • 3 million square feet of commercial space.[3]

 

Every dollar spent on energy-efficiency programs generates between $4-$8 of gross domestic product, and industry data suggests that every $1 million invested supports 20 jobs (direct, indirect and induced). There are tens of thousands of jobs that could be created if BC were to adopt a determined approach to achieving mass deep zero-carbon retrofits, accelerating Efficiency BC’s and BetterHomes BC’s current initiatives.

We thank the Home Performance Stakeholders Council for their draft thoughts supporting some of these recommendations.[4] We recommend that the government:

Retrofit Foundations

  1. Form a Retrofit Partnership to generate rapid results, aiming at mass, deep neighbourhood-scale retrofits that reduce energy demand and eliminate all use of oil, gas and wood for heating and hot water by 2030 through the installation of air-source, ground-source or water-source heat pumps.
  2. Legislate the phase-out of all oil furnaces by 2025 and all gas furnaces and heaters by 2030, followed by an annually-increasing Climate Danger Levy on their continued use.
  3. Fund municipalities and non-profits such as Lighthouse to operate Green Buildings Hubs, creating a one-stop-shop staffed by trained advisors to offer all the information and guidance that building-owners need.

Engage municipalities, community associations, non-profits and building retrofit contractors in developing localized plans for mass deep retrofits, scaling up demand, increasing performance efficiency, and reducing costs through the aggregation of projects, logistics

[1] Amsterdam: https://www.kateraworth.com/2020/04/08/amsterdam-city-doughnut/

[2] Emerging Economy Task Force Report: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/employment-business-and-economic-development/economic-development/emerging-economy-task-force/eetf-final_report-20200511-final.pdf

 

[3] Pembina: https://www.pembina.org/op-ed/retrofit-existing-buildings

[4] Home Performance Stakeholders Council: http://www.homeperformance.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Pre-Presentation_Content_HPSC_Financial_Stimulus_Options_4May2020.docx.pdf