Climate change: urban design solutions

Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan adds his two cents: good urban design, through higher densities and good public transit, needs to be part of the solution. It’s time to talk about urban density Tue 13 Feb 2007 As mayor of one of Canada’s biggest cities, Vancouver, I am frustrated with the nature of the debate on global climate change in this […]

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Meeting BC’s climate change target

More musings below on how BC can meet its new climate change commitments. Hint: they go far beyond what was identified in the Throne Speech. But I am quite pleased that this discussion is happening on page one of the Vancouver Sun: Campbell’s Green Dream To reduce emissions by 33 %: Can he deliver? Thursday, February 15, 2007 British Columbia […]

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More on BC’s green Throne Speech

Mitch Anderson in The Tyee comments further on BC’s Throne Speech and the outlines of a new plan on global warming. Premier’s Shaky Global Warming Pitch Will he or won’t he? That was the question on the minds of many British Columbians this week as Gordon Campbell prepared to release the throne speech and announce whether B.C. was really going […]

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How green is BC’s Throne Speech?

My Director, Seth Klein, likes to joke that the Campbell government has somehow managed to resuscitate Chairman Mao’s old speechwriter. We have seen the “New Era of Prosperity” back in the 2001 election, and the “Five Great Goals for a Golden Decade” in the 2005 election. With today’s Throne Speech, we have the “Pacific Century” and the “Pacific Leadership Agenda”. […]

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Stiglitz on global warming

Joseph Stiglitz points to some solutions to global warming, and some politics that stands in the way, excerpted from his latest column: What is required, first and foremost, are market-based incentives to induce Americans to use less energy and to produce more energy in ways that emit less carbon. But Bush has neither eliminated massive subsidies to the oil industry […]

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BC’s new global warming plan?

This story below was the front page banner headline on Saturday’s Vancouver Sun. It is a pretty exciting thought that BC might seek to emulate California with aggressive emissions targets. And between the lines, there appears to be some backtracking with regard to the approval of two new coal-fired power plants (which would be the first in BC, and are […]

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Liberal Tory Same Old Story

Former Conservative Garth Turner’s decision to join the Liberal caucus is one of several recent news items that highlight the extensive similarity between these two parties on economic policy. 1.) In response to the Conservative proposal to require that all interest savings from debt repayment be devoted to tax cuts, the former Liberal Finance Minister says, “The fact of the […]

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Post-IPCC denial and outrage

I find myself shaking my head when I read that Exxon-Mobil just announced an all-time record profit of US$39.5 billion for 2006. And then, after the release of the IPCC report on Friday, the Exxon-Mobil-funded think tanks come out denying climate change (it should be noted that Exxon-Mobil’s contributions to these groups would appear to amount to less than a […]

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Pay-as-you-drive auto insurance

Dean Baker makes the case below. I think this is a good way of internalizing the external costs of driving, including CO2 emissions and other nasty stuff. And in the case of BC and a few other provinces, it would be easy to implement via public auto insurance monopolies. In and of itself, however, I don’t think it gets us […]

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IPCC: Feeling the heat

Overall, the UK coverage of IPCC 4 has had an urgency beyond what we are seeing in the Canadian papers (who are, to be fair, much better than they used to be on this mother of all issues). From the front page of The Independent, a paper not known for its alarmism: UN delivers definitive warning on dangers of climate […]

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Can We Stick with Kyoto?

There’s a lot of dis-information in today’s Globe, especially from Jeffrey Simpson,  re the supposed impossibility of Canada achieving our Kyoto commitments.  In fact, the Kyoto protocol clearly allows us to make up for any shortfall in domestic emission reductions through the Clean Development Mechanism.  As Matthew Bramley from the Pembina Institute told the Commons Committee on Bill C-288 (which […]

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Denial on the eve of IPCC 4

The Guardian has an edgier take on the story posted earlier today. Check out the reference in last paragraph regarding a certain Canadian think tank. Scientists offered cash to dispute climate study Friday February 2, 2007 The Guardian Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world’s largest oil companies to […]

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Socialist conspiracy watch

Surely, the Tories knew this was coming. Just when Harper comes out swinging with those nasty attack ads, reminiscent of the anti-Kerry swift-boat ads in 2004, the Liberals (unlike the Democrats) counter-punch very effectively. I think the months to come are going to be pretty ugly in Ottawa. Harper letter decries Kyoto as ‘socialist scheme’ ALEXANDER PANETTA Canadian Press OTTAWA […]

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Red Ken on the 2007 World Economic Forum

London Mayor Ken Livingston reflects on the World Economic Forum in Davos: Davos 07: lessons of the week I may not have found socialist soulmates in Davos, but I did not come away disappointed by the discussions. Ken Livingstone Davos is one of the world’s most important economic forums. In London 700,000 people are employed by foreign companies or in […]

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Who’s still cool on global warming?

A good article in the Toronto Star profiling the climate change denial industry. Funny how they want conclusive proof of harms caused by human-induced global warming, but seem to have no problem proffering dubious evidence themselves. It is also curious how these “free thinkers” come up with the exact same positions and arguments. Like an old African proverb: you cannot […]

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The windstorms of political change

The status of the environment as the new top issue of 2007, and the coming federal election, is now uniformly accepted in the popular media. PM Stephen Harper is belatedly and desperately rolling out some “new” environmental initiatives (or reintroducing initiatives they previously had canceled) to try to out-green former Environment Minister, Stephan Dion. I doubt this will work, as Harper is going to have […]

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Another Katrina moment

Former Vancouver city councillor Gordon Price coins a new term, the “Katrina moment”, of which Vancouver has had a few this Fall. The latest was a fiece windstorm that passed through early Friday morning. Almost everyone I’ve talked to was awakened around 3:30 am by the howling wind, which approached but just fell short of the all-time wind speed record […]

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Wettest month ever!

I admit to enjoying weather porn. When a huge rainstorm came to Vancouver a couple of weeks ago, I just had to put on the 6 o’clock news to see the visuals. And then there was the snowstorm (oh, baby). Of course, the thrill of seeing Mother Nature’s wrath is generally better when it is not you – a thought […]

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Global warming and boiling water

What is the economic cost of a boil water advisory for two million people in Vancouver? (Ironically, it has been raining a lot – but households and businesses cannot easily capture it.) How about the cost of restoring power to a hundred thousand homes after a freak storm? Or the cost of sandbagging properties on the coast to prevent a […]

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Peak oil meets climate change

This article in the Vancouver Sun features a new report saying that we are not near “peak oil”: In sharp contrast to popular doomsday scenarios in which an oil supply crash triggers a global economic crisis, a U.S. energy think tank says the world has almost four times the oil supply envisioned by the pessimists. Cambridge Energy Research Associates … […]

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Environmental externalities of transportation

Statistics Canada’s Human Activity and the Environment 2006 report (summary from the Daily here and full report here) looks at transportation. The term “externality” is not stated but economists will see it between the lines. An interesting finding in the report is that while transportation has been contributing to higher greenhouse gas emissions, regular air pollution from transportation has declined […]

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Reflections on the Stern Review

Monday’s release by the UK government of the Stern Review on The Economics of Climate Change could come to be seen as one of those pivotal events in shaping public policy. I hope so, anyway. This report takes the accumulation of scientific knowledge about the present and potential future impacts of global warming and translates them into the language of […]

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What if Jack Layton had said that?

Said Prime Minister Harper on the coming Clean Air Act: “This approach will mark a fundamental departure from the approach of the previous government. Canada’s Clean Air Act will allow us to move industry from voluntary compliance to strict regulation. It will replace the current ad-hoc patchwork system with clear, consistent and comprehensive national standards.” Cynicism and all that aside, […]

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The mother of all externalities

We are still waiting for the Harper government’s proposed “green plan” or “clean air act” despite a big launch in Vancouver the other day. Expectations are being lowered as more details come out. The tough talking rhetoric does not appear to have much substance behind it. According to a CP wire story today based on a draft leaked to environmental […]

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Costs of climate change

File this one under the economic costs of climate change. If you have been to or flown over BC lately you will have noticed the astonishing amount of red (dying) pine trees. The mountian pine beetle is normally killed by cold cold winters, but winters now are not cold enough, and summers are just to their liking. Add to the […]

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Climate change actions

I watched an interesting show on climate change last night. This one was hosted by Avi Lewis as part of The Big Picture series on Newsworld. He had an audience of viewers watch a video by David Attenborough about the challenge of climate change and solutions, then had the last hour for a “town hall” debate that featured interesting folks […]

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