The global market for technologies that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is exploding, but Canadian businesses have failed to seize new – or even maintain existing – opportunities to sell such climate-friendly technologies globally, a Conference Board of Canada report concludes.
However, ‘Global Climate-Friendly Trade: Canada's Chance to Clean Up’ does indicate that Canada has global strengths in several specific climate-friendly technologies.
Global trade and investment in climate-friendly technologies is growing rapidly, is estimated to become the world's third-largest industry in a decade's time. In order to stabilize GHG emissions, the world will need to further accelerate trade and investment in such technologies, according to the report. Examples include wind and solar power, hybrid cars, more efficient electrical appliances and waste-minimization technologies.
The report adds that world trade in climate-friendly technologies grew by 10% on average annually over 2002 to 2008. In contrast, Canada's climate-friendly exports did not grow at all during this six-year period. When accounting for inflation, Canadian exports actually fell. Moreover, while Canadian businesses are slowly increasing their adoption of other countries' climate-friendly technologies, they are doing so at a much slower rate than the world average.
Yet Canada also has certain strengths in the global market. These tend to be in areas associated with the country's geography and resource base, notably waste management and energy technologies. The report finds that Canada ‘overtrades,’ or has relative global strengths, in 13 categories of climate-friendly technologies.
With clear policy signals and more globally oriented business strategies, Canada can become a world leader in specific climate-friendly technologies and related services, the report says. The Conference Board of Canada recommends that governments eliminate domestic and international barriers to developing, trading and investing in climate-friendly technologies.
In addition, Canadian businesses need to identify technologies, parts of technologies, and related services in which they have the potential to be world leaders, and become more willing to adopt global technologies in other areas.
SOURCE: The Conference Board of Canada