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  • 2019 Federal Budget Analysis February 27, 2019
    Watch this space for response and analysis of the federal budget from CCPA staff and our Alternative Federal Budget partners. More information will be added as it is available. Commentary and Analysis  Aim high, spend low: Federal budget 2019 by David MacDonald (CCPA) Budget 2019 fiddles while climate crisis looms by Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood (CCPA) Organizational Responses Canadian Centre for Policy […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Boots Riley in Winnipeg May 11 February 22, 2019
    Founder of the political Hip-Hop group The Coup, Boots Riley is a musician, rapper, writer and activist, whose feature film directorial and screenwriting debut — 2018’s celebrated Sorry to Bother You — received the award for Best First Feature at the 2019 Independent Spirit Awards (amongst several other accolades and recognitions). "[A] reflection of the […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA-BC welcomes Emira Mears as new Associate Director February 11, 2019
    This week the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – BC Office is pleased to welcome Emira Mears to our staff team as our newly appointed Associate Director. Emira is an accomplished communications professional, digital strategist and entrepreneur. Through her former company Raised Eyebrow, she has had the opportunity to work with many organizations in the […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Study explores media coverage of pipeline controversies December 14, 2018
    Supporters of fossil fuel infrastructure projects position themselves as friends of working people, framing climate action as antithetical to the more immediately pressing need to protect oil and gas workers’ livelihoods. And as the latest report from the CCPA-BC and Corporate Mapping Project confirms, this framing has become dominant across the media landscape. Focusing on pipeline […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Study highlights ‘uncomfortable truth’ about racism in the job market December 12, 2018
    "Racialized workers in Ontario are significantly more likely to be concentrated in low-wage jobs and face persistent unemployment and earnings gaps compared to white employees — pointing to the “uncomfortable truth” about racism in the job market, according to a new study." Read the Toronto Star's coverage of our updated colour-coded labour market report, released […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

Carbon Caps and Capital – You Read It Here First

A TD-Pembina-Suzuki study released seven weeks ago projected that cutting Canada’s carbon emissions by 20% below 2006 levels, or even 25% below 1990 levels, would only modestly reduce overall Canadian GDP.

Last week, Jack Mintz critiqued this study for positing a fixed amount of capital investment in Canada. Under this highly dubious assumption, climate policy only shifts capital around between industries and provinces but cannot affect total investment.

On Monday, Stephen Gordon breathlessly reported Mintz’s finding that the TD-Pembina-Suzuki study assumed fixed capital. Yesterday, Colby Cosh at Macleans highlighted Gordon’s post as revealing this study to be a “climate-change hoax.”

But as a couple of astute commentators on the Macleans blog pointed out, Relentlessly Progressive Economics had already noted the study’s flawed assumption about capital. On November 5, a week after the study’s release and a month before Mintz’s op-ed, Andrew Jackson wrote, “Lower investment in the oil and gas sector is magically assumed to be balanced off by new investment elsewhere, since national investment always equals national savings.”

The same day, I wrote the following comment on Andrew’s post:

I did indeed wince at the assumption that investment lost in carbon-intensive industries will automatically be offset by precisely equivalent investment gains in other industries.

By positing a fixed amount of investment in Canada regardless of climate policy, the study ignores the threat that carbon-intensive industries will relocate to other countries that choose not to regulate emissions.

We should be discussing policy responses to carbon leakage, rather than assuming away this problem.

Enjoy and share:


Comment from Brandon L
Time: December 16, 2009, 3:45 pm

“carbon-intensive industries will relocate to other countries that choose not to regulate emissions[lower taxes & regulations in general].” In fact all industries will relocate & offshore more western jobs to countries that have lower regulations, & taxes.

Comment from Keith Newman
Time: December 16, 2009, 4:41 pm

The model assumes all factors of production redeploy and remain full employed – presto no unemployment of any resources, including labour! That’s what these models do by assumption.

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