Canada’s climate strategy to significantly cut emissions and become a net-zero emissions economy by 2050 will create a seismic shift in the large oil and gas sector, where up to three-quarters of the workers, or up to 450,000 people, are at risk of displacement, TD Bank said in a new report on Tuesday.
Canada aims to become a net-zero emissions economy within three decades, and to cut emissions by between 32 percent and 40 percent by 2030.
While those commitments could be critical to staving off the worst effects of global warming, Canada needs to take significant action, including coming to terms with the effect of climate policies on the oil and gas workers, the bank said.
“According to Natural Resources Canada, roughly 600,000 Canadians, located mostly in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador are either directly or indirectly employed in the oil & gas sector. We estimate between 50-75% of those workers are at risk of displacement in the transition through 2050, equivalent to 312,000 – 450,000 workers,” TD Bank said in the report.
“The belief is that many of those displaced will find a home in the clean energy sector, but we should not assume that the transition will absorb all displaced workers,” the bank said, noting that it is critical that Canada do not repeat past mistakes and ensure a just transition for energy sector workers.
“The clean-energy transition will create many new job opportunities, but there is no guarantee or automatic market mechanism to ensure these benefits accrue to where the costs will be borne on the displacement,” according to the bank.
South of the border, in the United States, thousands of oil and gas jobs disappeared during the oil price and demand crash last year, and more and more former oil workers moved to jobs in the clean energy business. However, they have also taken a pay cut moving to renewables as the industry still pays lower than oil and gas.