OTTAWA — The Canadian economy is near the bottom of a new international ranking that measures production and sales of green technologies.
The report, released Thursday at the global climate summit in Copenhagen by WWF International, is the first of its kind to compare countries on the basis of sales of products and services that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
It estimated the global value of the clean energy sector, including wind and solar energy as well as biodiesel and energy efficiency products, at $984 billion in 2007.
"The market for clean technology is booming, and was in 2007 larger than the pharmaceutical industry," said the report called Clean Economy, Living Planet, produced by the conservation group. "It will be the third industrial sector in the world in 2020."
Denmark, Brazil and Germany were the top countries in the ranking in terms of relative sales of clean energy technologies based on the size of their economies. The report said the Danes are global leaders in turbines and insulation, while Brazil has a strong ranking because of large scale production of bio-ethanol, and Germany was excelling in several technologies, particularly in wind and solar energy.
The report estimates that the global value of the clean technology sector would rise to nearly $2.5 trillion by 2020. But Canada finds itself 23rd in the survey in terms of absolute sales, and 31st place in terms of relative sales based on the size of the country's economic output. It trailed many large economies as well as such small economies as Kyrgyzstan and Slovakia.
Keith Stewart, the director of WWF-Canada's climate change program, said the report demonstrates that federal government policies and subsidies are allowing the wrong sectors to grow in the Canadian economy.
"The countries that are leading in the index, both in absolute terms and in relative terms are ones which have had strong policy support for renewable (technologies)," said Stewart. "Here in Canada, we've had strong policy support for fossil (fuels) and it's pretty clear that . . . support for things like oilsands means you're not going to be supporting renewable technology."
But Stewart said Canada should be leading the pack instead of trailing it since it has a greater endowment of renewable energy than anywhere else in the world. He added Canada also has a responsibility to do more to promote renewable energy and clean technologies since it is among the top 10 sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the world.
In the global economy, such sectors as wind energy, biodiesel and solar energy have grown from 24 per cent annually up to 53 per cent per year between 2000 and 2008, the report said. But Stewart warned that the main federal program promoting renewable power in Canada is on the verge of running out of money.
"Canada really needs to get its act together so that we're making sure that we're going to have the good green jobs that are going to power the 21st century," said Stewart.
The United States ranked second in terms of absolute sales of clean technologies but 19th in terms of relative sales based on the size of its economy.
Switzerland, Portugal, Russia and Mexico are among countries that ranked worse than Canada in the report.