Canada Will Cash In On Clean Tech Boom

China has been battling some of the worst urban air pollution in its modern history. High levels of smog in more than 20 cities recently forced many to stay indoors and off roads.

With local industries ordered to slow down or halt operations, the economic impacts are very real.

Itís no surprise then that Chinese authorities recently revealed plans to spend $1.9 trillion over five years on initiatives and technologies designed to protect the countryís environment and reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions. Broken down annually, thatís more than its military budget, and nearly 3 per cent of its entire GDP.

Canada is competing for a slice of that massive pie, which is why last month Environment and Climate Minister Catherine McKenna led a clean energy-focused mission to China to strengthen trade ties. Of course, the opportunity is larger than China ó from Asia and Africa to South America and Europe, the need for low-carbon, zero-polluting technologies has never been greater and the desire to invest never stronger.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently called it the largest economic opportunity the world has known. ďNo nation will do well if it sits on the sidelines, handicapping its new businesses from reaping the benefit of the cleantech explosion.Ē

To be clear, Canada isnít on the sidelines. But as we look to 2017 and beyond itís fair to ask: Where does the country sit, and whatís being done to help Canadian entrepreneurs move closer to the global action?

The reality is that Canadaís cleantech sector has lost ground on the world stage. From 2005 to 2014 its share of the international market shrunk to 1.3 per cent from 2.2 per cent, despite a doubling of annual cleantech exports, according to a recent report from Sustainable Development Technology Canada and Cycle Capital Management.

The good news is the federal government, provinces and territories are all at the same table working to unlock the sectorís immense potential, not just at home but abroad. After months of extensive consultation with citizens, businesses, local governments and civil society, we now have a national climate plan that places strategic importance on the health of our countryís cleantech sector.
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