Debate over Canada’s climate change policies has frequently centered on concerns over jobs and economic competitiveness. This is not surprising. Industries and governments have long worried that tougher pollution standards push up costs, flatten margins in tight markets and shed jobs. However, the debate today takes place in an environment of high anxiety over wages and job losses, and alarm over growing levels of inequality.
Against that backdrop, this commentary begins in Cumberland County, in Northwestern Nova Scotia, Canada, where new jobs are emerging in the renewable energy sector. It argues that the shifts underway in Cumberland County are representative of a larger, global transition, as job losses in the fossil fuel industry are replaced by growth in renewable energy.