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March 28, 2016

Canadian CEOs want governments to focus on clean tech

C-suite executives strongly support clean technology development and transportation strategies that reduce carbon emissions

If the government intends to push economy-boosting measures, Canadian business leaders prefer to see the a combination of investments in either a skills and training agenda, tax cuts, as well as research and development or facilitating pipelines.

C-suite executives are also strongly supportive of clean technology development and transportation strategies that reduce carbon emissions, according to a recent survey chief executive officers (CEOs) of Canadian businesses.

Over the coming decades, federal and provincial governments need to invest in clean tech R&D that could eliminate dependence on fossil fuels, according to the 42nd C-Suite quarterly survey conducted by the business management firm Gandalf Group for professional services company KPMG.

The telephone survey of 161 C-suite executives from the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business1000 companies found there is a strong support for investing in clean tech and transportation initiatives that reduce carbon emissions.

“But the C-Suite is deeply divided over aggressive proposals to reduce or end carbon consumption,” according to the report.

Half the C-Suite would support a plan comparable to the White House’s recent proposal to tax oil at US$10 a barrel in order to fund climate change initiatives  but 49 per cent oppose this (26 per cent strongly).

The executives were also divided on how fast governments should act on reducing carbon consumption.

“The vast majority of respondents thins proposals to end the use of fossil fuels by 2050 are unrealistic,” according to the Gandalf survey. “Many who say it’s unrealistic still say it’s worthwhile. But only 14 per cent would suggest a target date as early as 2050.”

The survey found that 52 per cent of respondents believed the target set by the G7 of 2100 or sooner “would be realistic.”

One in three thinks any long-term timeline to phase out carbon is inappropriate or unrealistic.

“Many executives cited a lack of alternatives in terms of technology as the main obstacle to phasing out carbon,” the report said. “But many more mentioned cost, economic impacts or the need to build new infrastructure as the biggest obstacles to eliminating fossil fuel use.”

About this author

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Nestor Arellano

Nestor is a Toronto-based journalist who specializes in writing about technology and business. He is the editor of Vanguard Magazine and the associate editor of IT in Canada and a regular contributor to CGE.

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