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  • A critical look at BC’s new tax breaks and subsidies for LNG May 7, 2019
    The BC government has offered much more to the LNG industry than the previous government. Read the report by senior economist Marc Lee.  
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • The 2019 living wage for Metro Vancouver April 30, 2019
    The 2019 living wage for Metro Vancouver is $19.50/hour. This is the amount needed for a family of four with each of two parents working full-time at this hourly rate to pay for necessities, support the healthy development of their children, escape severe financial stress and participate in the social, civic and cultural lives of […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Time to regulate gas prices in BC and stop industry gouging April 29, 2019
    Drivers in Metro Vancouver are reeling from record high gas prices, and many commentators are blaming taxes. But it’s not taxes causing pain at the pump — it’s industry gouging. Our latest research shows that gas prices have gone up by 55 cents per litre since 2016 — and the vast majority of that increase […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA welcomes Randy Robinson as new Ontario Director March 27, 2019
    The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is pleased to announce the appointment of Randy Robinson as the new Director of our Ontario Office.  Randy’s areas of expertise include public sector finance, the gendered rise of precarious work, neoliberalism, and labour rights. He has extensive experience in communications and research, and has been engaged in Ontario’s […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • 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) Budget hints at priorities for upcoming […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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Archive for 'carbon pricing'

Upset about offsets

A recent story on offsets reported in the Tyee caught my eye. In a nutshell, a residential subdivision development on Denman Island was prevented from going ahead in part because of the magic of carbon offsets. First of all, more conservation by preventing this type of development is a good thing. But in what way […]

The trouble with flying

I just got back from a conference in Geneva where I was asked to speak to trade unionists from around the world about our BC climate justice project. In addition to this great opportunity to share information about green jobs and climate policy with a friendly audience, it was also an eye-opener to be in […]

BC’s revenue negative carbon tax

BC’s carbon tax was supposed to be “revenue neutral”, meaning all carbon tax revenue would be “recycled” to British Columbians through personal income tax cuts, corporate income tax cuts and a low-income credit. When the 2008 budget launched the carbon tax, we were provided with a forecast that had revenues precisely match recycling through tax […]

The Western Climate Initiative: another baby step

It has been a while but this week climate change is back in the news cycle. The front page of today’s Globe reports on the latest climate impacts tally: The report …  concluded 2000 to 2009 was the warmest decade ever, and the Earth has been growing warmer for 50 years. Each of the past […]

Gas prices and consumption

On a weekend getaway to Washington state, I was alarmed at how much cheaper gas prices are south of the border. Typically, we paid $3 per gallon, whereas the price in Vancouver upon our return was $1.16 per litre, which is $4.39 per gallon (with the exchange rate roughly parity over the weekend). This is […]

BC’s carbon tax turns two

With all of the attention focused on the HST implementation on July 1, most people seemed to miss the next increment of that other much-hated tax, BC’s carbon tax. As of July 1, the carbon tax is now $20 per tonne of CO2, or about 4.6 cents on a litre of gasoline. And like any […]

The Distribution of GHGs in BC

I have a short Climate Justice publication out for Earth Day today, looking at the breakdown of greenhouse gas emissions by income quintile in BC, then asking what is fair when it comes to mitigation policies. I draw on some fairness criteria from the international literature on fair emission reductions, and test out two stylized […]

Different perspectives on GHG emissions

When emissions are reported for the US or Canada, there is an accounting convention that restricts the total to emissions released within the borders of that jurisdiction. This means that Canada’s exports of tar sands oil are counted only to the extent that fossil fuels are used in the extraction and processing, not the combustion […]

Climate inaction and BC’s budget

The 2010 BC Budget was a disappointment on the climate action front. Even as Premier Campbell waxed in the Globe about the impact of climate change on the 2010 Spring Games – with its sunny days, crocuses, daffodils and by the end, cherry blossoms making it fun for people on the street but a big […]

Copenhagen countdown: upset about offsets

The biggest international meeting on climate change, perhaps since Kyoto itself, is coming up in early December in Copenhagen. But the closer we get to Copenhagen, the farther away an agreement seems to be. Sadly, there has been precious little coverage of the ongoing negotiations in the mainstream media, further demonstrating the increasing irrelevance of […]

Dealing with Climate Change, the Economy and Jobs

The David Suzuki Foundation and the Pembina Institute should be thanked for their efforts to put forward an integrated economic and emissions reduction strategy for Canada. The study was done to their specifications by M.K. Jaccard and Associates. The really important bottom line of this study is that aggressive action to deal seriously with […]

Carbon Capture and Storage: Magic Bullet or Delusion?

Depending on who you talk to, carbon capture and storage (CCS) is either the face of climate salvation or the height of delusional behaviour associated with our favourite hallucinogenic drug, fossil fuels. I have read both cases and suspect that the truth is somewhere in between, but I’m not an engineer either so it has […]

Saskatchewan’s Electricity Future

Back in my home province, a legislative committee has begun a public inquiry on meeting future electricity demand. Written submissions and video of oral presentations are available online. Saskatchewan’s traditional reliance on coal-fired electricity is challenged by concerns about climate change and the prospect of federal charges for carbon emissions. The debate has recently been […]

It’s a small world after all

As someone deeply focused on climate change and the vast potential for bad things to happen in the future, the idea of peak oil strikes me a blessing. For the most part I have paid little attention to the nuances of peak oil arguments on the grounds that there is still so much of the […]

Canada at the Climate Crossroads

The second half of 2009 is shaping up to be one of the most important periods for international policy development. Ever. The fragile state of the economy, which continues to throw up worsening data with each passing period despite more optimistic talk in the media, will continue to be top of mind. But the collective […]

Making BC carbon neutral (the lazy way)

The biggest loophole in cap-and-trade systems, and greenhouse gas emission reductions more generally, is offsets. These are payments by those who produce GHG emissions for projects that reduce emissions somewhere else, so as to neutralize the originating emissions. Offsets have been criticized for not being easily validated – for example, by virtue of investments made […]

Planet Before Politics

I signed the following open letter published in the Globe on the weekend. I cannot take any credit for organizing or writing the letter (hat tip to Ian Bruce of the David Suzuki Foundation). On the other hand, I can say that I have co-published with David Suzuki! It’s time to put the planet before […]

BC’s economy and the Liberal platform

With my oped last week on the NDP platform making me less than popular over at NDP HQ, today the Sun published my take on the Liberals’ platform, thereby guaranteeing that the list of Christmas parties I get invited to dwindles to next to nothing. BC’s Economic Challenges and the Liberal Platform By Marc Lee […]

How green are BC’s climate policies?

One of the most striking contradictions in BC’s climate action plan is the oil and gas industry. Greg Amos in The Hook, quotes our “green” premier out on the campaign trail in the northeast: “Let me tell you what’s happened in the energy industry in British Columbia in the last eight years: thirteen billion dollars […]

BC’s Carbon Tax Clash

With the BC election campaign now officially on, the carbon tax debate is back. Since the fall’s federal election, when the Prime Minister dropped in to beat up the carbon tax to solidify his support in BC, the carbon tax has dropped off the public radar, replaced by stories about the economic and financial crisis. […]

Happy Birthday, Carbon Tax!

A year ago, in the 2008 BC Budget, a new tax was born. There was a hush over the House as its mother, the Finance Minister, prepared for delivery. The proud papa, the Premier, stood glowingly beside the new mom Carole and her baby tax, and basked in the glow of praise from climate scientists, […]

A global carbon tax

Ralph Nader and Toby Heaps make an excellent case for a global carbon tax. With an Obama administration there is the possibility of such a thing happening, and it would be much more sensible that a complicated cap-and-trade system that will take years to get up and running. Even if a North American cap-and-trade system […]

Obama’s green response to the crisis

This is very good news, given concerns that the economic crisis would push climate change off the table: Barack Obama and congressional leaders are preparing rapid legislation to cut US emissions that cause global warming and to kick-start a clean energy revolution. Two bills are to be introduced as soon as the President-elect takes office […]

Is BC’s Carbon Tax Fair?

The CCPA released today a new study by myself and Toby Sanger on the distribution of BC’s carbon tax and recycling regime. I’ve probably leaked most of the findings in various blog posts in recent months, but the full meal deal is now available for download here. Toby and I modeled the carbon tax by […]

Timing is Everything

More than anything else, BC’s carbon tax is the victim of bad timing. Here’s the average gas price in Vancouver over the past year, according to the BC Gas Buddy: Note that the BC Budget, which announced the carbon tax, was tabled on February 19, and the tax was implemented on July 1. In that […]

The Green Version of the Tax Shift

Now that Elizabeth May is set to join in the televised election debates, her party’s platform will come under greater scrutiny. There is much to like in it – especially a major investment program in energy efficiency, alternative energy, public transit and so on. Her commitment to seriously dealing with climate change and creating a […]

Diesel and Dust

Well, the Tories are nothing if not consistent. During the NDP’s BC campaign against the carbon tax, I wondered whether they would follow the logic – if you don’t like a carbon tax then it only makes sense to call for a cut in the provincial fuel tax. Federally, the Harperites have seized the initiative […]

Swift-Boating the carbon tax

The bed having been made by the NDP, the Prime Minister not only takes it but moves in and changes the locks. All summer the NDP’s axe-the-tax campaign against the BC carbon tax has played on a classic conservative anti-tax theme (to the dismay of yours truly). The BC election is not until May 2009, […]

The carbon tax goes to the polls

The politics of the carbon tax, largely a BC phenomenon until now, have gone national in the face of a likely October federal election. Just last week in BC, a poll revealed the NDP ahead of the Liberals for the first time in several years — within the margin of error, mind you, but significant […]

Next steps on climate action in BC

Yesterday, the Premier’s hand-picked Climate Action Team released its final report to the government. As is often the case with government, the CAT consisted of a range of “stakeholders”, although with one glaring omission: no representation from labour. The CAT has been deliberating for several months on how to meet the 2020 target of a […]